Dock Of The Pay

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RTE reports:

Luas operator Transdev has warned drivers if they proceed with their four-hour stoppages scheduled for the coming weeks, they will be docked a full day’s pay.

Transdev has previously warned drivers that because of the intermittent strikes and an ongoing work-to-rule, they would consider a number of options including lay-off without pay, short-time working, and/or a reduction or elimination of pay on foot of partial performance of contracts of employment.

…In response, SIPTU has accused Transdev of of “pouring fuel on the fire”.

Divisional Organiser Owen Reidy alleged that the company was out of control and operating in a reckless way.

Transdev to dock full pay for four-hour Luas stoppages (RTE)

Previously: Between The Lines

UPDATE:

Meanwhile…

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Thanks SaintThomas

112 thoughts on “Dock Of The Pay

    1. Tish Mahorey

      Would you like it if people mocked your attempts to improve your own situation?

      1. Daddy Wilson

        They deserve nothing more than my contempt at this stage, and a lot earlier than this too.

  1. Eoin

    There’s an awful lot of ‘useful idiot’ type of commentary, on this Luas pay business, borne out of the normalcy bias and ignorance that affects us these days. This is about an erosion of workers rights. The fact that so many talking heads don’t seem to realise this and instead insist on demonising the workers, is stunning. While the Luas isn’t all that essential in many eyes, these employees are still unionised workers. I know of a company that have fired their entire workforce (no union) and will now hire them back on less money and on contract. Stripped of all rights to pension etc. But this isn’t news worthy. This is the way the EU wants things now. How much of this is going on behind the scenes? And Transdev are going to be bidding for bus routes next. So expect them to destroy the rights of bus drivers next. It’s all part of the general looting of our resources before the inevitable collapse of the entire western financial system due to the rule of law being swept aside by lobbyists.

      1. MoyestWithExcitementMoyestWithExcitement

        Wasn’t that “52%” including things like the extra bereavement leave they were after?

      2. MoyestWithExcitement

        Wasn’t that “52%” including things like the extra bereavement leave they were after?

    1. Robert

      There are THREE parties to this dispute.

      I’m fairly certain Marx has little to say about consumer rights.

      1. Gorev Mahagut

        Actually, as a consumer, you are not a party to this dispute and you don’t get to have an opinion. That’s just one result of privatisation.

        When Transdev crush their workers you won’t see any benefit. In fact, you might be next.

    2. Tish Mahorey

      Absolutely correct.

      And the truth that everyone feels under attack but some make themselves feel better by rounding on another sector.

      It’s like the eldest son of a violent Father, repeating the abuse to a younger brother, and so on. Everyone loses, including the Father.

    3. Goodnight Ireland

      Totally agree. Absolutely amazing that people are taking the side of wealthy multinational versus workers.

      The narrative has moved on from the crash where it was private sector employees complaining that public service workers being paid too much, as opposed to bank bailout. Now we are turning on the Luas drivers. Meanwhile the rich get richer.

      1. Rob_G

        Some people like to weigh up both sides of an argument before picking a side; I think many people who would be sympathetic to workers generally find the unions’ demands in this dispute daft.

        “Meanwhile the rich get richer.”
        – Transdev are losing money on their Irish operations, so no, not really.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “Some people like to weigh up both sides of an argument before picking a side”

          Because people who are siding with the drivers haven’t weighed up each side? If all you have are sanctimonious platitudes, you’re probably wrong.

          “Transdev are losing money on their Irish operations, so no, not really.”

          They made a profit of over 850k in 2014 and won a €150 million contract since. Where have you read they’re losing money? A gerry madden interview?

          1. Rob_G

            “Absolutely amazing that people are taking the side of wealthy multinational versus workers”

            – this would indicate to me that Goodnight Ireland has picked his/her side without weighing up the facts

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            I could say litetally the same thing to you; that there’s no way you could have weighed up the facts if you’re siding against Irish workers. In fact, you have helped spread the 50% lie and just lied about them losing money right now.

        2. Brother Barnabas

          Transdev aren’t losing money on their Irish operations.

          They’re returning a loss, which is something else entirely. Look at the license fees, consultant fees, rental etc that the Irish operation is paying the parent company. It’s an accounting loss, nothing else.

          So as well as screwing Revenue, it’s now attempting to screw its workers.

          And people are opposed to the strike? Utter stupidity. We should be supporting the Luas workers with everything.

          1. Andy

            Can you lash up their accounts there Brother Barnabas,

            You know, in the interest of transparency and all?

          2. Brother Barnabas

            I could, Andy, but, to be honest, I’m not willing to spend the time doing so. Tell me how I can invoice you and, if I’m happy that you’re good for it, I’ll certainly do it. That’s not being evasive or whatever, just how it is (with me).

        3. Goodnight Ireland

          Transdev are an international company with tens of thousands of employees. Group turnover in 2014 6.6B

      1. Mark Dennehy

        Well, there’s section 40(3)(2) for a start…

        “The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as
        best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of
        injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name,
        and property rights of every citizen. ”

        Seems to me that the Luas workers’ good names have been pretty much kerbstomped by Transdev management at this point.

        1. Rob_G

          Really? I don’t think that a company pointing out that they disagree with their striking employees really qualifies as the above.

        2. Owen C

          Mark, can you show some actual real erosion of rights, rather than some philosophical left wing nonsense? My point is that there has been no erosion of rights simply because the workers have looked for an improvement in current pay and conditions, they are not striking against any changes to pay and conditions which has been imposed by Transdev. Its basic common sense.

    4. classter

      ‘This is about an erosion of workers rights’

      So perhaps you could explain what is being eroded in this dispute?

      So far as I could see, the drivers were looking for a lot more money than they were currently receiving & a lot more than other employees might receive.

      I am sympathetic to the idea that generally our pay & conditions are under attack but if you use this for every single demand, then it is meaningless.

  2. Mark Dennehy

    Maybe we should just nationalise the luas service, deal with pay negotiations under another haddington road type agreement and sack the board of transdev for not sorting this out earlier and instead doing things that they know will exacerbate the dispute?

    I mean, if the luas is this vital to our economic recovery and all that, maybe we shouldn’t be entrusting it to some random private company?

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      +1 Be nice to have that €150 million we have them last year being spent by working class Dubliners in Dublin shops which goes towards wages of others working class Dubliners rather than sitting in a French bank gathering interest.

      1. Owen C

        Is the whole 150 million sitting in a French bank account? Or will some of it be paid to Irish workers/ESB etc?

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yeah you’re right. Transdev are getting none of the money. The poor little dears running that multi billion euro corporation have been bullied by 172 people earning between 30 odd grand a year into spending it all on wages so those greedy drivers can pay their mortgages.

          2. Owen C

            No, you said all of the money was sitting in France, having repeatedly mentioned the 150mn amount they received. I asked whether some of it might be used to run the actual Luas service. You then proceeded to throw your toys out of the pram.

          3. MoyestWithExcitement

            OK, buddy. Tell everyone again how the pro strike argument is that Transdev have to up their wage bill every single year just because they can.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            *forever. You said the argument was that they have to up driver pay every year forever. AND you used the word ‘literally’. :D

          5. Owen C

            why don’t we deal with the actual underlying facts of this sub thread? The 150mn, are Transdev keeping it all in their bank account in France? Yes or No.

          6. MoyestWithExcitement

            Ah. I shouldn’t be surprised you’re inept at picking up tone. (That was sarcasm. I don’t actually believe every penny from the contract they won will sit in a bank. Good lad)

          7. Owen C

            Look, here’s the first statement you made:

            “Be nice to have that €150 million we have them last year being spent by working class Dubliners in Dublin shops which goes towards wages of others working class Dubliners rather than sitting in a French bank gathering interest.”

            It strongly suggests the whole 150 million was sitting in France. So i asked for a clarification. You decided to respond in the affirmative. When picked up on this, you respond first with a denial and then an insult. I get that you have difficulty with interacting with other people, i really do, but at least try to join in on the adult discussion without looking like the class clown, ok? Thanks Daisy.

          8. MoyestWithExcitement

            “It strongly suggests the whole 150 million was sitting in France.”

            It really doesn’t. That’s some genuinely terrible reading comprehension. It explains a lot.

          9. Owen C

            [Amount] + [what we could do with it] + “…rather than sitting in a French bank gathering interest”

            It suggests its all sitting in France. You’re an idiot with 9 year reading comprehension. Actually, 7 year old. Maybe that’s why we keep butting heads, you actually just can’t read or write properly?

          10. Owen C

            See, this proves it. You’re actually thinking and translating like a 7 year old. Thanks for the confirmation.

          11. MoyestWithExcitement

            You have bested me. I can’t handle the verbal skills and wit of someone who repeats what I said in slightly different language as if they said it. I need to time to consider this brand new and unique strategy before responding.

    2. Rob_G

      Sure, why don’t we have a forced nationalisation of Ryanair while we are at it?

      We can go back to the glory days of £500 flights to London.

        1. Rob_G

          Well, well someone suggests the forced nationalisation of a private company , I felt it necessary to respond with a suggestion with a similar grounding in reality.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            A private company who tendered for a contract to manage a state service.

          2. Anomanomanom

            It’s not a privatisation though. We own the Luas, just don’t hire anyone to run it and we can run it our selves.

          3. classter

            One of the reasons that the Luas operation was privatised was that we have had such a difficult time with the different offshoots of CIE & similar over the years.

            Expensive, heavily unionised, poor service delivered, cavalier attitudes to work, worker compensation out of line with private sector norms, no interest in innovation, etc. Speak to anybody who has worked in CIE, RPA or county councils around the country & you hear the same sorts of reports of an utterly dsyfunctional working environment where the end product is given a low priority.

            It was recognised that Ministers are poor at dealing with unreasonable demands from unions.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        Well done, Rob G.

        Time now for you to get back to work – that Junior Cert won’t fail itself.

    3. Boba Fettucine

      I’m pretty sure this is SIPTU’s desired end result alright. The state are a lot easier to push around than commercial enterprises that have to return a profit in order to continue to exist.

  3. Stephen

    They lost public opinion early on with the ridiculous “oh but that was just our opening offer” gambit

    To take one issue – why should their salary increase every couple of years, above inflation? Do they get better and better at driving a tram??

    1. Owen C

      No Stephen. They work for a large multinational corporation. Their wages should go up every year, forever, in addition to inflation, until the company can no longer afford pay increases. That is literally the argument. It’s bonkers.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        “That is literally the argument”

        No it isn’t. Wow. That is crazy.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            They’ve not received any pay increase for 5 years. They have come to the conclusion they should be paid the same as train drivers. They are asking for this rate of pay to be paid incrementally over a number of years as opposed to one go. That does not mean they think wages should go up “forever, until the company can’t afford it.” That is an *insane* interpretation.

          2. pedeyw

            From what I recall the original cause of the strike was Transdev telling them that they wouldn’t be getting any pay increases above the consumer price index for the next five years.

          3. Cup of tea anyone?

            Over the last 5 years the CPI has dipped negative twice. The latest was at the end of 2014. The cost of living went down that year but overall it hasn’t changed much.

            I don’t understand where the drivers get this idea that they should be paid similarly to an unrelated field. I also don’t understand why they feel that they can hold a company to ransom for extra conditions they did not agree to at the start of the contract.

            and I don’t understand why they feel that their salary should go up more then inflation. It does not make economical sense to expect more reward without adding more value.

            I can get behind the Tesco strike. Tesco are making changes to contracts that would see pay reduced.

            The moral is, Don’t sign a contract unless you intend to live with it.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            “I don’t understand where the drivers get this idea that they should be paid similarly to an unrelated field.”

            Does that mean you disagree with people who compare their wages to Gardai and nurses?

          5. Cup of tea anyone?

            Yes I do disagree with it. Nurses and Gardai get paid less but they have opportunity to progress.

            However I do see why people would use that line. If someone compares their role to the pay of an unrelated role I can see how others would compare it to another unrelated role to show that A might be paid more but B is paid less. Either way both sides are irrelevant.

        1. Owen C

          Ah yeah, the “they can afford it” line has never been trotted out. Or “they are a wealthy multinational”. Or “they are entitled to look for more than inflation”. Never ever.

  4. Sullery

    Seems like a lot of the animosity towards the drivers is underpinned by the idea that workers should get paid what they ‘deserve’. That’s not how it works in a free market economy – you sell your labour for whatever you can get, and – in general – a for-profit business will try and pay as little as possible.

    1. Stephen

      Good point, and I think the drivers have overestimated what their labour is worth.

      Wages are a huge overhead for any business. It’s entirely possible that Transdev’s intrasigence is due to worries about tipping the whole enterprise into losses.
      And if they start losing money, it’ll be taxpayers that pick up the tab when they pull out.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        They’ve not overestimated their worth. They are dealing with an unreasonable company. Transdev posted profits of 850k in 2014 and won a contract with €150 million since. I seriously doubt any of this is about keeping in the black.

        1. Stephen

          There are 167 Luas drivers. So if the company makes 850k proft a year, it would only take 5k pay raise per driver to wipe that out.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            No, they’re looking for about a 4% increase year on year which, in the first year works out at less than 300k. It’s not true that they can’t afford it.

        2. Rob_G

          You keep harping on about Transdev making profits in 2014 – according to Transdev, they lost money in 2015, are set to lose money again in 2016.

          By your rationale, the workers should have gotten a pay increase in 2014, and then taken a pay cut in both 2015 and 2016.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            So you accept that Transdev were lying about not being able to afford the pay increases? As for your question, if they can’t afford it they can’t afford it but I would like to think an ethical company would start making cuts to wages at the very top before coming to that conclusion. Gerry Madden proposed taking money off new people at the bottom to find money for pay increases. Did he propose cutting his own wage to find it?

    2. Owen C

      i think the animosity comes from what is perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be a fairly stable job, backed by massive public sector investment, that requires relatively little in experience or skill, has fair conditions, and the staff are looking for very large pay increase (whether you call that 22%, 26%, 50% etc, they are all large numbers). This comes at a time when similar pay increases are beyond other people’s expectations, and the Luas drivers reaction to not getting this pay increase has impinged significantly on other people’s ability to commute to work/college/leisure etc. That’s why people have a problem with it. And we’re called begrudgers and mé-féiners for not being happy about how the Luas drivers are conducting their industrial dispute.

      1. Sullery

        Well I wouldn’t feel that way about it personally (broadly for the reasons I outlined above) but I can understand why they are wrecking heads. Given that the current setup we have for deciding pay leaves the luas drivers basically just having to look out for themselves (and me looking out for myself etc etc), I would suggest that your beef may ultimately be with the system rather than the drivers…

      2. Anne

        “This comes at a time when similar pay increases are beyond other people’s expectations”

        Should your issue not be with other people’s expectations then?

        1. Owen C

          No. Other people’s expectations are grounded in reality. Luas drivers are not. Unless you’re suggesting a broad based 20% pay increase for every worker in the state over the next 4-5 years? Have you thought about whether that would be a good idea and how it might impact on economic competitiveness and inflation?

          1. Anne

            No. Other people’s expectations are grounded in reality.

            What reality is that Owen? Blind obedience that economic gains should go to the top is it?

            Let’s just deal with this case and not your hypothetical scenarios of ‘every worker’. A lot of workers don’t have bargaining power in the form of unions.

            In terms of inflation.. in this particular case, fares were increased on numerous occasions for the Luas, without there being any wage increases, when profits were up and there were record numbers of people using the Luas year on year.

            Do you have any issue with the shareholder payout? Director’s salaries, no? Let’s discuss the ethics of this….

            Ah why the fupp am I bothered asking? Of course you don’t.. you’re someone who has indicated that you think the quality of healthcare people receive should be a reflection of their bank balance.

    3. classter

      ‘you sell your labour for whatever you can get’

      And the drivers are banking on being able to ‘get’ more by impacting upom the service the public receives. This works well when the public is sympathetic to the case put forward, less so when they are not.

  5. Mulder

    Listen, scrap the luas or whatever ye call the yoke and bring back, the old time trams.
    Back to the future as usual.
    Problem solved.

  6. some old queen

    Transdev(Veolia) really are on the back foot here because there is a contractual clock ticking. Issuing threats like this is downright bizarre.

    I have a question. Given the profit margin, why was fare increases needed? It sure as hell didn’t go on worker’s salaries.

  7. wearnicehats

    I experienced the Miners’ strike in the UK and it was one of the few things that I agreed with Thatcher on at the time. I hope Transdev stand their ground. A lot of people in this country who lost their jobs in the recession didn’t have massively well paid union bosses to back them up. Similarly those who kept on working with 50% pay cuts and no pensions managed to drag the country back on its feet. These drivers are taking the piss and I hope it bites them on the arse

    1. The Key of G

      Oh right. Everyone should be dragged down to the base level of subsistence wages.

  8. john

    about time they should have done this from day one, u have a right to strike but u dont have a right to a salary if u do.

  9. Anne

    ‘Cup of tea’ says –
    ” It does not make economical sense to expect more reward without adding more value. ”

    In what way would it make sense economically?

    You mean financially, for the particular company, not economically… as the current model we have, sees employees as costs.

    Economically what makes sense is increases in wages for middle /lower income earners. This would benefit the economy as a whole and makes more sense.

    Here –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8swuwO_E8U

    1. Rob_G

      Wage increases across the board would lead to inflation, and a loss of competitiveness internationally.

      1. Anne

        That’s not true at all Rob G.

        This is related to minimum wage and general wage increases –

        https://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/07/23/misconceptions-raising-the-minimum-wage-does-not-automatically-lead-to-inflation/

        I’ll dumb it down to this bit –
        ‘These large profit margins make it easier for firms to raise wages without raising prices’.

        As I mentioned, prices were raised on several occasions for the Luas, without the justification of increased wages…not for the workers at least.

        1. Rob_G

          That link relates to raising the minimum wage (which is a separate argument; Luas drivers earn much more than minimum wage).

          ‘These large profit margins make it easier for firms to raise wages without raising prices’.

          – Luas made a loss last year, and is set to make a loss again this year, so I don’t think that can apply in this instance.

          1. Anne

            I did say the article was about general wage increases also.

            ‘Luas made a loss’.
            Transdev Rob, Transdev

            http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/luas-firm-on-course-for-loss-of-over-870000-this-year-34170911.html

            That’s an accounting loss.. they paid over 1.2m to shareholders in 2014. Revenue was €48.8m. They’re certainty not blaming a lack of passengers on the loss.

            Here’s the reason they’re giving –
            The company blamed different billing structures within its new contract with the Rail Procurement Agency (RPA) for the declines in revenue and profits

            Do you know how that works, exactly? How the billing structures with the RPA are causing a loss? I can’t find any more information on that and that article is as dumbed down as you can get..

            I don’t understand what they’re doing with their books.. but I would imagine that has an effect on their tax liability also.

      2. Anne

        “Wage increases across the board would lead to inflation, and a loss of competitiveness internationally.”

        These one liners are great Rob..

        No mention of productivity or the labour share of income.

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