SIPTU has called on Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, to withdraw his claim that a strike by Irish Rail workers in opposition to cost cutting plans is “inevitable”. SIPTU Organiser, Paul Cullen said: “Minster Varadkar’s claim that a strike at Irish Rail by March this year was 'inevitable' is extremely unhelpful to the current industrial relations discussions taking place between workers and management at the company.“The Minister should consider withdrawing this claim which if it is allowed stand will only undermine ongoing negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission.”He added: “Our members are concerned that the Minister may be signaling some form of unilateral action aimed at provoking a breakdown in the negotiations which are aimed at finding a solution to the dispute at Irish Rail. His comments have united our members in questioning his suitability for a role which necessitates understanding the real financial pressures which working people are under.“Workers at Irish Rail have co-operated with management since 2008 in reducing the cost base of the company. Since 2008 staff numbers in Irish Rail has been reduced by more than 2000 and productivity has been increased. This has been achieved through negotiations without one day lost through industrial action.“An agreement on cost saving measures at the company was reached in 2012 and was supposedly to last until 2016. However, despite our members working with the company to assist in reducing its cost base further cuts to their pay are being demanded.”