SIPTU members working for Transdev have served notice of two 48-hour work stoppages during February on the LUAS light rail network operator. This follows the company’s failure to reach an agreement in a dispute concerning workers’ terms and conditions of employment. SIPTU Utilities and Construction Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “LUAS workers have this evening (Wednesday, 13th January) served notice of two 48-hour work stoppages during February. These will take place on Thursday, 11th and Friday, 12th and Thursday, 18th Friday and 19th February. The workers are conscious of the inconvenience these stoppages will have on their customers but believe they have no option but to conduct this industrial action. “In talks over the last 18 months, Transdev has failed to offer an increase in pay for the next five years to LUAS workers. The company position in talks in all forums has been that it will only offer pay increases in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). “The CPI is currently, and has been for some time, a negative figure. This means that unlike 96% of other companies across the state Transdev is not prepared to pay any increase in pay in excess of that attached to workers existing conditions of employment.” He added: “Rather than enter into serious negotiations the management of Transdev today decided to release a statement to the media that attempts to demonise LUAS workers. In this statement, the company ignores a number of key facts including its refusal to offer any pay increase above the CPI rate. “The company fails to highlight that the service our members provide has led to an increase in LUAS passenger numbers and passenger revenue in excess of 25% over the last five years. During that period, the workers have only received a 2.5% pay increase. “It is also important to note that the salary scales for LUAS workers attached to the Transdev statement are inclusive of all main pay related conditions of employment. These workers cover a transport system operated seven days a week, 364 days a year, and receive nothing in addition to their salaries for working unsocial hours or weekends.” Owen Reidy said: “The company has also claimed that its contract with the state agency, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), is unique for public transport in Ireland in that it will receive less money in 2015 than in 2014 despite increased passenger numbers. It also claims that the linking of workers’ pay to the CPI rate in the contract prevents any wage negotiations whatsoever. Surely this is not sustainable. “Instead of attacking its employees, the management of Transdev would be better served considering why over 99% of LUAS workers feel so frustrated that they voted for industrial action. SIPTU members hope that the company will reconsider its position and make a meaningful offer on pay.”