Black Irish ire over Luas job claims
2017-09-01 18:26:18 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem

No black Irish citizen has been employed as a Luas driver since the Dublin tram service’s operating company signed a diversity strategy in 2014, it has emerged.


Last month, Transdev Ireland joined other public transport companies in a campaign to tackle racism on their services.


It follows on from Towards an Inclusive Public Transport Service in Ireland, the joint strategy of Ireland’s public transport providers, under which it promised to “ensure that our recruitment and promotion processes are competency based and free from discrimination.”


The company also said it would be “encouraging applications from groups under-represented within our workforce.”


However, Metro Éireann has learned from various sources that a number of black Irish citizens who applied for driver positions since the diversity strategy was launched were not employed – despite meeting the job requirements. 


In a recent recruitment drive for tram operators for the new Luas Cross City line to Cabra opening later this year, no single black Irish person was employed out of what’s believed to be over 50 successful applicants.


Some sources told Metro Éireann that they were certain the last time a black Irish driver was employed was about seven years. “That employee actually resigned,” one source added.


The claims have led some members of the community to believe that there is a deliberate policy to employ only certain ethnic groups and nationalities as drivers in the company. 


“They would rather employ another candidate with EU citizenship than employing a person of African origin with Irish citizenship,” said one source.


Metro Éireann asked Transdev Ireland to respond to the allegations, as well as for a full breakdown of ethnic groups or nationalities of drivers employed as at 25 August 2017.  In addition, Metro Éireann requested information on the  number and background of drivers recruited between the signing of the joint diversity strategy and 25 August.


In a statement, the company replied: “Transdev’s Ireland recruitment practices are in accordance with best practice and Irish legislation; this includes the Employment Equality Act 1998 and 2004.


“The Employment Equality Acts 1998 and 2004 prohibit discrimination on nine grounds. The grounds are gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race/colour/nationality/ethnic or national origins, and membership of the Traveller community. 


“The act prohibits discrimination in employment and, in particular, access to employment, conditions of employment, training or experience for or in relation to employment, promotion or re grading or classification of posts. ”


The statement added: “Transdev Ireland employees are employed regardless of their gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. Transdev Ireland workforce is made up of over 25 different nationalities and diversity is celebrated within the company.”

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