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Do you have any sympathy for train drivers who are on strike?

Do you have any sympathy for train drivers who are on strike?

Communters are facing an unending cycle of transport chaos with further strikes on the horizon. Some 155,000 people will be hit by the first of five 24 hour stoppages at Irish Rail today.

More claims for pay rises which are likely to cause further disruption will be in the pipeline soon after rail passengers suffer the consequences of the latest wage demand in the run-up to Christmas.

Unions are set to lodge a fresh pay claim at Dublin Bus as the full increase of a three year deal is paid in January.

Passengers have endured crippling strikes at all the CIE companines since the Luas drivers won a 3.75% a year increase last year and other transport companies demand the same.

Today’s strike will affect 70,000 DART users, 45,000 users of commuter services and 40,000 intercity customers.

Today I want to know if you support the strike.

Have you been affected by it?

Speaking to the Herald, Alan Fox, a train drivers from Coolock in Dublin admitted that he is pretty well paid but pointed out that he has to deal with suicides on the tracks and gets up when many of us are going to bed.

He has been working for Irish rail for over 12 years and said sometimes he gets up at 4.30am and drives to Sligo, Maynooth and Dundalk.

He admitted that he can understand people’s frustrations with the strike but said it was the last resort for them.

He said none of them can afford to lose out on five days pay coming up to Christmas but that they feel it is the only thing they can do to make Irish Rail and the Government listen to them.

Alan said that drivers are not on huge money given the responsibilies that they have. He said as a train driver they are responsible for hundreds of passengers on theri train alone and they are the only ones responsible for moving the train, braking and any medical emergency that could happen.

He said there hasn’t been a pay rise in 17 years and that their pat has been taken over by Luas drivers when you compare hourly rates.  He said the cost of living has gone up but they haven’t seen a pay rise since 2000 and don’t get overtime or weekend rates.

The average salary for the workforce of 3,800 staff now stands at €54,647, according to figures supplied by the commercial semi-state company. They could end up with an average wage of almost €61,000 if they get the pay rise they are demanding

With all that said – I want to know if you support the drivers.

Or if you think people working in transport are getting a bit greedy.

The strikes will cost the country €900,000 a day and the company say they are dangerously close to insolvency with finances being weakened by the strikes.

Do you support the drivers? Or are you sick of all the striking over the last year?

Maybe you have sympathy for the drivers and you feel they deserve a pay rise?

Or maybe – you think that there are many people out there who have not had a pay rise since the recession and that they should stop their moaning.

Remember you can find more stories on the Niall Boylan Facebook and Twitter pages and remember #IrelandTalks4fm

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