Rail workers voting on offer

Irish Rail workers are balloting on a proposed pay deal as Socialist Worker goes to print. This follows two one-day strikes that closed rail and DART services. 

Socialist Worker

Rail workers voting on offer

By Owen McCormack

Despite tough talk from management and the government the strikes were hugely effective and had major impacts on traffic and the economy.

The deal on offer is short of the worker’ demand, itself a modest 3.75% a year, and is likely to come with huge productivity measures. The strike is the forth in public transport in just over a year.

All these disputes stem from the chronic underfunding of public transport and the determination of the government to keep wage rises low.

Irish rail has seen an effective 45% cut in subvention between 2008 and 2015. If the company funding was even at the European average it would be getting 120 million euro more each year; more than enough to pay the modest pay rise asked by workers after 10 years of cuts and pay freezes.

In the meantime, other threats are stacking up against the workers.

The company are trying to undermine the pension scheme and want to radically worsen it for workers, while the National Transport Authority is continuing with tender competitions designed to encourage private operators and hand over bus routes to the private sector.

The deal forced on Bus Eireann workers earlier this year has had a huge impact on conditions and the unworkable rosters are resulting in a large number of services being cancelled.

However the last year has also shown that transport workers have the capacity to resist attacks and, if united, remain one of the country’s most powerful groups of workers.

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