Following a meeting with Luas drivers organised last week by People Before Profit and attended by TD’s from a number of parties and independents, it was agreed that a cross party delegation would gather in support for the Luas workers, at Stephen’s Green Luas stop today at 1pm, who are currently engaged in industrial action against Luas operator, Transdev.
TD’s from across the Dáil will attend and distribute leaflets in support of the Luas drivers who have been victimised and attacked by Transdev.
Speaking at the event People Before Profit TD, Bríd Smith, said that it was very important that elected representatives came out to counter some of the false claims that have been directed at the Luas workers.
The demands of the Luas drivers have been a question of debate since the beginning of the strikes. The drivers are looking for a 5% increase per year, over five years to counter the cuts that they have had to endure over the last number of years of austerity. They also refuse to accept a deal from Transdev that would see new entrant workers earn less than current drivers for the same work.
Deputy Smith said “People Before Profit fully support the Luas workers in their quest for fairness. These drivers have received serious threats from the bullyboy company, Transdev. Gerry Madden’s actions during this whole process have been an absolute disgrace. He refused to enter into meaningful negotiations with the drivers over pay and conditions. His latest offer to the drivers is much less than the Workplace Relations Commission proposed. It is an absolute insult and a slap in the face to the drivers. Transdev has launched an unprecedented assault on staff engaged in an ongoing and lawful industrial relations trade dispute. They have placed their staff on protective notice with threats of layoffs and short time working. This is despite the fact that the workers are in full compliance with the 1990 Industrial Relations Act.
“Despite repeated calls Mr Madden has refused to disclose his own salary and bonuses and those of the top Transdev CEOs in Ireland.
“I am repeating my call for full disclosure of the earnings of the CEOs including Gerry Madden and the profits of Luas that have been repatriated to France since the operation began here in Dublin.”
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett said “Transdev have been presenting a false narrative during this whole saga. They would like the travelling public to believe that they are a company that do not make much money and are operating the Luas for the good of their hearts. This is not the case. Transdev’s parent company is Veolia, a massive French multinational. Transdev repatriate their Irish profits to this parent company so they can say they are financially vulnerable. It boggles the mind when I hear them suggest this. According to the Luas website, in 2015 the Luas increased its passenger numbers by 6.1%. This was their best year ever according to the company. We should also note that the fares have always gone up. They are making massive profits in this country. For this hugely profitable company to deny workers a pay increase after years of austerity is disgraceful.”
Deputy Gino Kenny said “I salute the drivers of the Luas for the service they do for Dublin in transporting tens of thousands of passengers, safely to and from their destinations. These drivers have a stressful job because they have to be one hundred percent concentrated in driving the trams through town with pedestrians and cars potentially going onto the tracks. In some cases it could be a matter of life and death. These drivers deserve the pay increase that they are asking for. These workers represent all workers across this country that have had their pay slashed and levies and austerity taxes imposed on them from the actions and greed of a few bankers and speculators. People Before Profit fully supports the Luas workers and all other workers who took the weight of austerity on their backs. Workers need a recovery and it is time the very profitable Transdev accepted these demands from the Luas workers.”