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Exporters say rail strike to hit economy

Thursday, August 21 11:48:55

Industrial action proposed by SIPTU and the NBRU will reduce rail freight options for exporters and damage the economy, the Irish Exporters Association said today.

It said that the work stoppage will cause exporters to question the viability of rail and damage the economy.

Simon McKeever, CEO of the Irish Exporters Association stated: "We urge the unions to reconsider withdrawing their labour on Sunday 24th and Monday 25th August 2014. Not only is rail freight under threat by this planned industrial action, the consequences to the export economy are potentially significant. An unofficial strike in 2000 caused a number of customers to abandon rail freight altogether. Should an official work stoppage take place, the damage to the economy would be considerable. Not only will it have a negative effect on the environment and reduce options for exporters many of our members will suffer, in particular, it will have a negative effect on IEA member Iarnrod Eireann."

The IEA is actively working with Iarnrod Eireann and potential customers to grow their market share and strengthen the role of rail freight across the Island.

Iarnrod Eireann rail freight has recently reversed a trend of decline, with a growth of 4pc in volumes in 2013.

"Together we have identified new business opportunities which are being actively pursued. We urge unions to call off this action, as we want to continue to work with organisations such as Iarnrod Eireann to strengthen rail freight, not undermine it," the Association said.

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