Red/Green Line Issue




Glenn Fitzpatrick writes:

I have been struck by just how hard a time the Luas drivers have been getting. This culminated yesterday in a Twitter spat between myself and [political analyst and Irish Times columnist] Noel Whelan (above)who essentially called for the army to be drafted in to drive the trams in place of striking workers.

He claims to be on the side of the users but when I asked him if he would accept that Transdev were taking advantage of our shoddy laws and were irresponsibly playing out a game in public he essentially labelled me juvenile and disengaged. Welcome to Ireland, the place where the only criteria for being seen as a champion of equality is a YES Equality badge.


WRC Invites Both Sides In Luas Dispute To Talk

Previously: Trams Like Us

UPDATE: Strike off


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149 thoughts on “Red/Green Line Issue

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      BS are d**ks if treating us like children who can’t see bold words even if they are blanked out.

      1. mike

        Dear Noel Whelan, please go away,
        You are a failed bloody rentaquote, complete gobsh1te who was chief FF cheerleader when they last ruined the country.

  1. Matt Fitzpatrick

    It seems to me that the real mistake was to hold strikes during an Election period when the outgoing government isn’t bothered listening.

  2. Gibbo

    I rarely post but the way this has played out really makes me despair. I see so much of it on social media along the lines of ’35 grand, six weeks training, who do they think they are!’ I urge anyone who is unhappy with their lot or feels they are being undervalued to go out and fight for a better deal for themselves. Join a union or face up to your employer. This pitting worker against worker is a race to the bottom and smacks of either feelings of jealousy or begrudgery. Rights and conditions are rarely granted and generally have to be fought for.

    1. Anomanomanom

      You live in a dream world. A company owes its staff nothing. The staff knew the wage before accepting. Being on €36,000 basic plus a bonus and looking for a pay rise and you think the public are begrudging, its not we’re just mad at the greed. I’m glad they get good pay, but holding the public hostage or the city on the busiest days of the year is purely scummy.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        “A company owes its staff nothing.”

        Well that’s a hilariously poor understanding of how an economy works. The staff are selling their labour. The company absolutely must pay for what they use.

        1. Cup of tea anyone?

          So what are the company not paying for?
          Why don’t the work to rule if that is the issue?

          1. Cup of tea anyone?

            You made a statement and I was just wondering what your reasons behind it. Clearly they get paid for their labor. Unless you are referring to overtime in which case they should work to rule.

          2. Disasta

            Haha Moist thinks a job that could be done by a performing monkey should get the 50/60 grand.

            Maybe its you who doesn’t understand how an economy works. The length of time these twits are striking for is more than enough time to learn to drive one of these.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yes, I made the statement that a company is obliged to pay its staff. How that means I know why Transdev aren’t paying what the staff want is beyond me, sorry pal.

          4. Disasta

            Everyone’s illiterate compared to you.
            Even the tram drivers who couldn’t read their contract explaining how much they were to get paid to push and pull that big level.


      2. Gah!

        “Holding the public hostage” is a silly exaggeration. There are alternatives. There are bus routes and plenty of notice has been given for people to make alternative arrangements. I rely on a train to get me to work. I just make sure I have a back-up plan. That’s what people do. Strikes are an inconvenience but to liken them to hostage-taking situations is just daft.

      3. Nigel

        A company owes its staff nothing.

        That is why we have statutory protections for workers. Because companies would use slave labour if they could get away with it.

    2. Clampers Outside!

      While I hear what you are saying, please answer me this….

      The Luas drivers are claiming to have the same job responsibilities as that of an Iarnroid Eaireann train driver and that’s why they want the same pay.
      That claim is bullcrap, plain and simple. There’s just no comparison.

      Now that that claim is out of the way and parked as utter nonsense, pPlease tell me why they should be paid the same as train drivers?

      Thanks, it’s a genuine question.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Are you insane? ‘Your answer is nonsense because I say so. Give me a different answer’. I wouldn’t have you pegged to be such an ignorant bell-end, Clamps.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Sorry. People should be allowed to behave like ignorant bell-ends without being called on it. I forgot how sensitive internet commentators can be.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          I didn’t say that.
          I asked a question… here it is again…. they want the same pay as train drivers. The job is not the same as train drivers. So the question is, why should they get the same pay? Simples.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yeah you did;

            “That claim is bullcrap, plain and simple. There’s just no comparison.

            Now that that claim is out of the way and parked as utter nonsense,”

          2. LW

            “Driving a tram or LRV has a lot in common with buses and main line trains” That’s the opening line of your link on trams Clampers, I’m not sure how that proves there’s no comparison between tram and train driving

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            So you posted a job ad for a train driver and some PDF about safety for tram drivers and that means ‘the claim is out of the way’? Alright then.

          4. Disasta

            Just wondering Clampers, why do you pander to this fool?
            You provided info, he provided nothing but baseless arguments.

      2. Toni The Exotic Dancer

        I think tram drivers should be paid the same as train drivers. In fact all Iarnroaid Eireann staff should have their huge salaries cut to that of Luas staff. It’s still more than the average inustrial wage.

  3. leesider

    A message about how a journalist thinks you’re juvenile and won’t talk to you?! Thanks for telling us.

    His viewpoint is not that controversial. Luas drivers are a disgrace, their demands are ridiculous.

    If transdev want to play it out in public(evidence of how they’re trying to increase publicity?), that’s their choice.

    Equating what is widely regarded as an industrial action by workers (who are hardly suffering Dunnes Stores style abuse) with same sex marriage or any other serious equality issue…. desperately searching for controversy.

    Slow news day.

  4. gallantman

    And what’s his opinion on a Labour relations matter got to do with his work on the YES EQUALITY campaign exactly?

    1. Medium Sized C

      The implication is that he believes in Equality but doesn’t believe Tram drivers have the same right to strike as others.

      1. Robert

        They don’t. Similar to doctors and nurses, but unlike say Cadburys workers they are expected to serve their public. Striking on Paddys day or Easter Sunday is tantamount to not treating a sick patient – albeit on a differing scale of seriousness commensurate with the importance of their job. Make your point by work to rule or striking on days that won’t piss everyone off – you’ll find the public far more supportive and you’ll still have a bargaining position with transdev. Fools.

        1. Nigel

          So apart from the seriousness and importance, exactly like not treating a patient. i mean, i think the drivers are off their rockers with these claims at this time, but this is stupid.

  5. Medium Sized C

    I sympathise with the right to strike.
    I’m not sure what they want though, I find it hard to believe that they are looking for as much as you see quoted around.

    Striking over a centenary festival weekend is being a bag of deeks though.

  6. fluffybiscuits

    Speaking to the bus drivers most mornings I made a point of asking them and none of them are behind the luas drivers. In terms of PR its worked out badly for the drivers themselves. Im a union member and rep and frankly they are being a tad unreasonable. I would have said max 20% to ask and then negotiate around 12-15% pay rise.

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      So do you think public backlash is down to the Unions making a mess of the publicity side?
      Unions are fairly clueless these days and are just another money hungry corrupt facility.

      1. fluffybiscuits

        Its down to the lack of thinking from all sides. Transdev has a big turn over, Luas drivers being unreasonable and SIPTU (Labour) being knob ends …fire the PR guy!

        1. Kieran NYC

          A big turnover but they make a loss.

          How is any company supposed to fund a huge wage hike out of a loss? Do the tram drivers want to put themselves out of work?

          1. Tish Mahorey

            “A big turnover but they make a loss.”

            Yeah like that’s not a tax avoidance tactic. Come on.

  7. Owen C

    Regulated monopoly which uses publicly owned infrastructure. Entirely appropriate to look at contingencies around alternative drivers. This undermines striking workers to the same extent that it is the fundamental weakness of their argument. This is not a simple industrial dispute between two private actors, it is a public dispute which impacts a vital public commuting resource. If Dublin bus workers blocked the n11 or the m50 would we simply tell commuters to look for alternative methods of travel?

  8. rotide

    Somehow equating this with the #yesequality thing labels you as juvenile and disengaged.

    You are an idiot. You are also an idiot who thinks they’re only great because they got to talk to the older boys on twitter.

  9. MoyestWithExcitement

    People need scapegoats. People need someone to blame for why they’re unhappy. I mean, “blackmail”? Anyone using that kind of screeching hyperbole should be ignored. They call the Luas drivers selfish yet they expect people fighting for a better wage for their family to accept their lot because they don’t want to walk to a bus stop 2 days a month.

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      People support some strikes and not others. what you should be asking is why is this strike not supported?

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Because something something 7 weeks training something something 50% something something automated something something greedy something something lever. Doctors and nurses are revered, Luas drivers are working class.

        1. Cup of tea anyone?

          That’s not what I asked. Yes that is the reaction when people are already not behind the drivers. But what is it about this strike that brought such a backlash in the first place?

    2. Brian S

      if you cant support your family/pay your mortgage/pay your sky tv bill then upskill and get a better job. or stop having kids and cancel the sky tv. €35k plus a 2.5k bonus is above the average industrial wage.

      but moyest is a keyboard socialist with delusions of a workers utopia spinning around in his mind so im sure he’ll come back with some nonsense soon enough.

          1. Same old same old

            Don’t be wasting your time Brian. The poster is question is so gainfully employed he has nothing else to do other than post crap on this daily. Probably on a jobsbridge

      1. Tish Mahorey

        Yeah how dare the grunts have luxuries. Then how will we differentiate ourselves as being above them?

  10. RT

    Love how everyone in support of the strikers seems to gloss over the (up to) 53% pay increases being demanded and how the optics of the same sit with the general public and commuters

    Hyperbole from both sides here to be fair with “blackmail” and “democratic rights” being called into the argument, but it is possible to both support equal marriage and be against the Luas strike – the Irish left does not have a monopoly on progressive ideals or movements

    1. dav

      I love how those who support the company are happy that millions are being made by the company but are unhappy that their fellow irish citizens cannot enjoy the fruits of the ir labour.

      1. coco

        I thought the company was making a loss? That’s not a dig, it’s been thrown out there a bit. Anyone know where to confirm this?

      1. RT

        No gloss on the *up to* part was intended by my use of brackets. 53% is the headline figure alienating the general public from sympathising much with the strikers.

        My point still is very clear: The optics of these pay demands, regardless of the range of the increases (8-53%) does not sit well with commuters or the general public.

        While hardly an Irish Water-style PR fiasco, it doesn’t take a PR expert to know that what little public goodwill for the strike may have existed at the outset is rapidly being evaporated the longer this drags on, and I’ve yet to see any strike supporter address this point.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Well of course goodwill won’t be at a high level when people like you come into public forums to mislead people with your 53% figure. Or do you think you’ve been mislead yourself? It’s one of the two anyway.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Well if you’re that sensitive there clearly isn’t any point. You can take your propaganda elsewhere.

          2. Tish Mahorey

            There’s Brian S with the nasty personal attacks in place of a reasoned answer to the issue being debated. That’s VERY Fine Gael. Sneering, cynical, contempt for others.

  11. Pablo Pistachio

    Why are people getting their knickers in such a twist over a dispute in a privately owned company?

    1. ReproBertie

      Because it’s a privately owned company contracted by the state to provide a public service.

      1. Pablo Pistachio

        These things happen when you privatise valuable public infrastructure.
        If we’re prepared to let that happen, then tough ****.
        As for Noel ‘FF’ Whelan, you can tell they’re back when he comes out with rubbish like this. Using our army to provide free labour to a private company. Jesus wept Noel, step away from the aul Twitter.

  12. eamonn clancy

    Boy, Glenn is sure desperate for his fifteen minutes of fame, ego blogging or what?

  13. Annie

    Striking on days when the city will have major celebrations ongoing and a large tourist presence is a pretty low move.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Right. I wonder how our ancestors got into the city in the dark old days of 2002.

      1. ReproBertie

        Excellent point. Dig up the Luas tracks. We survived without it in the past so we don’t need it.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Uh huh. ‘People can get the bus like they did in 2002’ = ‘Dig up the Luas tracks’. I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

          1. ReproBertie

            Well since we don’t need the Luas why are we bothering with the link up? Sure people are walking from Stephen’s Green to Abbey St as I type so the link up clearly isn’t needed.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            Nobody *needs* more than one bathroom in their home but practically everyone has that. They’re convenient. The Luas is convenient. It gets into town quicker than the bus and it’s more regular. You don’t *need* it though. What a ridiculous argument.

          3. ReproBertie

            Not only is the Luas quicker and more convenient than the bus but the introduction of the Luas meant a lot of changes to bus routes and timetables, for example, so the removal of the Luas for a day does not mean that we just return to the exact same situation as we had before it existed.

            It’s all well and good saying people can just get the bus but it does not reflect the reality of the situation. In fact it’s a ridiculous argument.

          4. Owen C

            Entire estates or commercial areas have been built along the Luas line on the basis of it being available for convenient commuting

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            “It’s all well and good saying people can just get the bus but it does not reflect the reality of the situation.”

            It very much reflects the reality of the situation. Why don’t you tell me which areas the Luas goes through where people *can’t* get a bus?

          6. ReproBertie

            So you believe the bus service has not been changed at all in the areas the Luas serves.

          7. MoyestWithExcitement

            It was a simple question Bertie. Which areas that are served by the Luss are not near any bus routes?

          8. ReproBertie

            If only it was that simple. This will come as a surprise to you but the capacity and routes of buses in areas served by the Luas has changed since the introduction of the Luas. I know that will come as a surprise to you because you persist in telling people to just act like it hasn’t.

          9. MoyestWithExcitement

            So is that a no? You can’t think of anywhere served by the Luas that isn’t also served by a bus route?

          10. ReproBertie

            So you admit that you think the bus service is unchanged since the Luas was introduced? I course I never claimed there was no service but then it’s not about no service, it’s about a vastly reduced service and your inability to accept that reality.

      2. Annie

        Why does it need to be on those days? Continue striking on normal working days if you must. The bus route I can take to work was so busy on those days I was an hour late to the office and needed to stay an hour later to make it up. Not the end of the world, they’ve got a battle to wage. I have no issue with their right to do so. I disagree with them doing so on the centenary weekend, it’s economically aggressive.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “Why does it need to be on those days? Continue striking on normal working days if you must.”

          Because, presumably, less people will be going into town than on a normal work day. Why do you prefer them to do it on a work day? Is it because you don’t go into town very regularly but you’re going in that day? So you want to inconvenience the workers but not yourself? Isn’t that selfish of you? Isn’t that the same attitude you’re accusing the Luas drivers of having?

          1. Annie

            “I disagree with them doing so on the centenary weekend, it’s economically aggressive.”

            You are aware of the festival celebrations occurring, are you not? You think less people will be in the city? Less? Riiiiiight.

            I made my point quite clearly.

            Whether or not I will be in the city on those days has zero to do with anything I said. I won’t, as it happens.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yeah, less. Most people are in the city for work. If they’re not working, they won’t be in the city. I certainly have no plans to spend easter watching a boring military parade. I don’t know many who are. Obviously I’m guessing there’ll be less people going into the city on Easter Sunday than a run of the mill Monday morning but I’d be surprised if I was wrong.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            I do enjoy the lunatics who think they speak for other people. Don’t you have ‘haha’ to write under someone’s post?

          4. Mikeyfex

            Sorry, you can feel free to change that to me speaking for just myself if you prefer. I’m sure you’ll have no problem doing that.

          5. ReproBertie

            “I do enjoy the lunatics who think they speak for other people” says they guy telling us that most people won’t be going into the city over Easter.

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            No, says the guy *opining* that *less* people will be in the city on easter Sunday than a normal working Monday.

      3. DT

        On the 48A – once a very frequent bus route. But they stopped that once the Green Line opened. So people out Sandyford way are a bit stuck.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          The 75 is every few minutes and there’s the 11 and 45 iirc as well. I’ve literally gotten the bus to Sandyford for work.

          1. ItsOnlyMe

            also the’re are at least a quarter less 11s since the Luas, plus they cancelled the 46b on account of the Luas proving to be a better alternative

          2. ColintheDachshund

            Jesus you actually work. You must get loads done while simultaneously trolling web boards all day, kudos. She’s a great little country

  14. dav

    100 years on and the elites still want soldiers out, oppressing workers, this country makes me sick sometimes

        1. ReproBertie

          Of course not. The union are acting the maggot picking their strike dates but they’re also begging management to meet with them. They’ll cave soon enough and the Luas will be running as normal in plenty of time.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            “Of course not.”

            So why did you say it?

            “but they’re also begging management to meet with them.”

            Obviously. None of them *want* to strike.

            “They’ll cave soon enough”

            Transdev, the company that told people not to walk on their tracks on strike days cause it’s trespass, might. The unions announced more strikes yesterday. They won’t be caving any time soon.

          2. ReproBertie

            Well dav’s coment was so stupid and over the top that I thought the only sensible response was something equally stupid and over the top.

            The union announced more strikes yesterday because they have a 21 day clause around calling industrial action and wanted to throw Easter strikes in as a extra threat. It’s as empty a threat as telling a child that if they don’t behave Santa won’t come. In the same day they announced strikes they submitted proposals to the WRC to try and get talks. The WRC said they needed to give more ground (I’m paraphrasing) so they came back with new proposals. They’re saying they’ll call off the strike on March 8th if talks begin. They’re caving already. Perhaps (speculation alert) losing their bonuses for the year as well as their pay for the days they were on strike is impacting on the popular support for the strike among the drivers.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            Whatever about the 21 day rule. If they announced more strikes *yesterday*, they’re probably not close to caving.

            “They’re saying they’ll call off the strike on March 8th if talks begin. They’re caving already.”

            That’s not caving. That’s standard practice. The whole reason the strikes were called in the first place was because Transdev wouldn’t even meet with them. It’s interesting you keep using the word ‘cave’ though.

          4. ReproBertie

            The unions have been caving since the first strike was called. They went in demanding 53% pay rises and at the same time saying they didn’t really want that much. Yesterday they threatened more strikes while also saying they won’t really strike. All they’ve managed to do is annoy the customers and cost their members and the employer a lot of money.

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            So you use the word cave AND you focus on the 53%. Some might think you’ve an agenda here.

          6. ReproBertie

            Mentioning a union demand is me pushing an agenda now? Did they not demand 53% while also saying they’d accept much less? Is me mentioning their willingness to accept less not potential evidence of me having a pro-settlement agenda?

  15. Tish Mahorey

    How many comments have trotted out the predictable and ignorant “anyone can press stop and go buttons” line?

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      Well I don’t think anyone in this comment thread yet. But if you wait long enough……

  16. Tish Mahorey

    You can be certain that a company like Transdev is operating a lowest common denominator approach to employment, doing the very least they are legally obliged to.

    Faceless companies that are owned by faceless shareholders don’t a toss about the workers they employ and it results in a wider problem for thousands of families – insecurity and uncertainty. Those in turn become problems for the state where they have to supplement income and provide more services when these people lose their jobs or when the cost of living overtakes their wages.

    1. Cup of tea anyone?

      I thought Transdev offered pay increases in line with inflation or the CPI so that this wouldn’t happen?
      also are they in a situation where they can be just let go? I thought they were on a contract of some sort?

      1. Owen C

        Transdev offer bonuses to staff. Its possible this is included in the constitution, but I’m skeptical.

  17. john

    they should have replaced these drivers a long time ago. If you dont get paid enough get another job, thats how it works for everyone else. i presume there are plenty of people who will be willing to take their place. if they want to be overpaid for what they do they should have gotten a job with the CIE or ESB or any other public sector body.

  18. Cup of tea anyone?

    Matthew 20:1-16 The parable of the vineyard is a lot like this story. The Luas drivers are like those who agreed in the morning to work for a silver coin. as the day went on others were hired and agreed to work for a silver coin. At the end of the day the vineyard owner paid them all their coin and those that started first thing in the morning, complained that they were getting paid the same as the people who started in the afternoon.
    The owner told them that they agreed to work for one silver coin and that is exactly what they got. They should not be jealous of the generosity shown to others.

    In the same way the Luas drivers agreed to work for x amount and were offered their wage increase in line with inflation.

  19. Serv

    Right to strike, like any right it is not absolute. The Luas drivers are using the most extreme measure in the armory, not to protect reasonable terms, but to seek a generous payrise.

  20. Cromuel

    Criterion, if there’s only one of it.
    Do you really expect solidarity and loyalty between Irish working people in 2016?

  21. Truth in the News

    What we should do is get Whelan and his mates from the Law Library to drive
    trains at the rates the drivers are paid, and get the drivers to wear wigs and join
    the Law Library and get their remunerative fees.

  22. Kieran NYC

    Normally in this situation, the strikers panic the Minister into rushing in and settling.

    Well the Minister now has no mandate/authority to gallop in and fix this. And I would imagine he has no mind to.

    The Luas workers screwed up completely.

  23. Tish Mahorey

    One of the consequences of the division of labour. It undermines the collective solidarity of working people across industries. It’s used to divide and conquer. People scrap amongst themselves as the super wealthy escape attention and profit from the competition for jobs.

    1. Tish Mahorey

      And don’t think you’re part of the super wealthy because you earn €100K, own a BMW and a house in right part of town. You’re still one of the grunts at that level.

      Think in the millions then you’re starting to get close.

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