Government to intervene in Irish Rail dispute

By William O'Toole

Government officials are set to make a last ditch effort to prevent Friday's planned dispute involving Irish Rail drivers from taking place.

It is understood that representatives for Transport Minister, Paschal Donohoe, are set to try and broker a deal to try and prevent the planned stoppage from going ahead.

Kieran Mulvey of the Labour Relations Commission is also set to invite union officials to crunch talks in the Workplace Relations Commission in a bid to prevent Friday's strike.

However, it is understood that union bosses believe that Friday's strike will go ahead as planned and have blasted Irish Rail Chief Executive David Franks for sending a letter to workers earlier this week which warned them that their demands were "unaffordable".

In the letter, it is claimed that he accused the National Bus and Railway Union (NBRU) and Siptu of creating "false hope" after the unions looked for a reduced working week and changes to productivity from the company.

NBRU General Secretary Dermot O'Leary has said that the majority of workers were left angered by the letter, while Siptu's Paul Cullen has described the letter as "most unhelpful".

However, Irish Rail Spokesperson Barry Kenny has said that the "vast majority" of workers have now accepted Mr Franks' letter.

Friday's planned work stoppage, which is too take place between 6am and 9am is set to effect nearly 60,000 customers, including commuters and students.

Irish Rail have also warned passengers to expect some disruption to services after 9am. They have also advised passengers that there may be altered capacity on some services, while others could be changed at short notice.

A similar strike involving workers two weeks ago caused significant delays for commuters.

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