But would there be enough drivers to run a full service even without a strike?
In addition to the ongoing problems due to Iarnród Éireann rolling out a timetable with not enough drivers to drive the trains, and then blaming the drivers for not driving the additional trains on their time off, there are now problems in the training of new drivers who are presumably intended to drive these additional trains.
The question is, has Iarnród Éireann engineered the current dispute to draw attention away from the timetabling problem? In any case, this means significant inconvenience for passengers as rail services in Ireland today, and over the weekend, are hit by cancellations.
The Irish Times report:
Thousands of rail passengers are experiencing significant disruption today as unofficial industrial action by Iarnród Éireann drivers in Cork escalates to other routes.
There have been cancellations on the Cork-Heuston, Galway-Heuston, Athlone-Heuston, and Westport-Heuston routes. Services from Cork to Tralee and Mallow have also been affected.
Other services are running between Dublin and Cork, with bus transfers between Mallow and Cork. Passengers on the routes attempting to use services at the weekend may also face disruption.
Iarnród Éireann said further disruption is likely on Galway, Westport and Athlone services, and that disruption is expected in Cork throughout today.
Many Cork/Dublin and Cork/Tralee services will be cancelled, with other services operating between Dublin and Mallow only.
As many as 15,000 passengers may be affected by the action as the dispute escalates. All Cork-Cobh and Cork-Mallow commuter services were expected to be cancelled, and customers have been advised to make alternative arrangements.
Services to and from Cork were hit yesterday morning after drivers operating out of Cork’s Ceannt Station – members of the National Bus and Rail Union and Siptu – refused to operate trains in support of a colleague who was taken off the payroll.
According to Iarnród Éireann, the stoppage began after a refusal by a Cork-based driver to drive his train within his core roster on Thursday, to allow for training of new trainee drivers.
Union sources last night said senior management at Iarnród Éireann had orchestrated the dispute in Cork yesterday, and appealed to the company to take steps to resolve the row before it escalated.
Management has strongly denied this allegation. Iarnród Éireann is posting details of cancellations on its website.