SIPTU has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to intervene in the Irish Rail dispute before workers are forced into taking industrial action due to management intransigence concerning an outstanding pay claim. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Willie Noone, said: “Critical talks at the Workplace Relations Commission aimed at diverting industrial action in Irish Rail broke down last night (Wednesday, 27th September) due to arrogant and incredible demands made by management. In return for a paltry 1.5% pay rise that would only become payable to workers next year management demanded that our members accepted outsourcing, forced redundancies, line closures and reduced contract hours.  “This was a derisory offer which management must have known would be totally unacceptable to our members. Irish Rail workers are in an unsustainable position where they have not had a pay rise but only pay cuts for the last decade. They increasingly feel that they are being left with no alternative but to conduct industrial action in order to have their legitimate pay claim adequately dealt with.” He added: “Rather than allow a situation to develop which results in another transport dispute which will only damage the company, inconvenience the travelling public and result in more financial hardship for our members it is essential that the Minster accepts his responsibilities and intervenes now rather than later.”  SIPTU Organiser, Paul Cullen, said: “Passenger numbers on Irish Rail currently exceed 2009 levels but the company is operating with almost 22% less staff. Irish Rail workers have made a tremendous contribution in reducing operating costs at the company by more than €38 million. A proposal that staff must fund a pay-rise for themselves by decimating their remaining conditions of employment is downright farcical. “Our members in Irish Rail cannot continue to subsidise the service and accept being treated differently to other workers in the transport sector. The company, its workers and rail users are all united in their call for increased investment in the service. The solution to the issues at Irish Railrequires government intervention. Otherwise, we face yet another avoidable period of crisis in the public transport system." He added: “SIPTU representatives are currently preparing for a ballot of our members in Irish Rail for industrial and strike action. The Minister for Transport has previously said that he cannot intervene in a dispute once industrial action is underway. Our members in Irish Rail are calling upon him to use the current window of opportunity to work towards preventing another round of avoidable travel chaos.”