27/05/2008

Train Driver Agreement De-Rails

Irish Rail and train drivers engaged in an unofficial strike will meet on Tuesday following another walk out, leaving passengers with no train service.

Drivers had agreed to come back to work after an unofficial strike over roster issues last week. However, upon their return to work the were asked to sign a declaration saying they would never engage in unofficial action again.

Drivers refused, and a total of 19 services were subsequently paralysed with thousands of passengers left stranded.

Talks between Irish Rail and the drivers' trade unions will kick off at 2.30pm today. The National Bus and Rail Union last night vowed that drivers would not call off the action until the company withdrew the "unofficial strike" clause.

The dispute was sparked after a driver refused to drive a different train to accommodate a company training programme for new recruits. The man, a member of the NBRU, was struck off the payroll.

Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said: "I'm disappointed the passengers are not getting the service they deserve. Wildcat strikes are unacceptable. I'm saying to both sides, get talking and resolve the difficulties.

"I hope I don't have to wait until the bank holiday (for a resolution)."

(DW/JM)

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