thuggery | 

Irish Rail workers vote for industrial action over anti-social behaviour

'The absence of consequence for offenders will continue to feed into the psyche of those that are intent on creating mayhem'
Stock image

Stock image

Anne-Marie Walsh

Irish Rail workers have voted in favour of industrial action over antisocial behaviour on the network.

Members of the National Bus and Railworkers Union backed action by a majority of 77pc in a ballot after the union accused the company of failing to provide a safe working environment.

The NBRU is unlikely to serve notice of industrial action before Christmas.

General secretary Dermot O’Leary said it will hold an emergency national executive council meeting in early January to assess how members’ fears might be addressed.

'Our members at Irish Rail, having previously highlighted their concerns at the unsafe work environment, brought about by the ongoing antisocial behaviour and downright thuggery across our rail network, have mandated and endorsed the use of industrial action in response to their concerns,” he said.

“Whilst we acknowledge that the company is working to improve security issues, the fact remains that our members do not believe that their workplace is a safe place to operate.”

He said disrupting train services is the last thing staff want.

“However, there is extreme frustration at the lack of meaningful engagement as to how we can make our railways a safer environment for staff and commuters alike,” he said.

“The fact remains that the absence of consequence for offenders will continue to feed into the psyche of those that are intent on creating mayhem.

“Suffice to say, any decision to trigger the mandated industrial action will involve a discussion as to how we might mitigate or minimise disruption to commuters.”

He said the union is available to speak to Irish Rail and other stakeholders about achieving a resolution to the dispute.

In a letter to Iarnród Éireann chief executive Jim Meade last month, Mr O’Leary said 28 “disgraceful” incidents detailed in correspondence were experienced after the appointment of a senior security adviser at Irish Rail.

Irish Rail director of railway undertaking Billy Gilpin said in a letter that measures were taken that resulted in a number of arrests, a high volume of fixed penalty notices being issued and a notable reduction in incidents.

He said various measures led to a number of successes in tackling anti-social behaviour, particularly on the northern Dart and Portlaoise commuter services.

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