Wednesday 7 December 2016

Another Dublin Bus strike is looming... and more chaos for commuters seems likely

Martin Grant

Published 12/09/2016 | 09:30

Photo: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency
Photo: Laura Hutton/Collins Photo Agency

Commuters in the capital face further headaches this week as no attempts were made by either union or management over the weekend to reach an agreement on the Dublin Bus strike.

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Drivers say strikes will continue if management do not offer pay increases.

Unions representing staff at the semi-State body say that planned strikes this Thursday and Friday and also next weekend will go ahead if drivers' pay is not increased.

The National Bus and Railway Union (NBRU) said that nobody contacted them over the weekend in a bid to solve the dispute, while management at Dublin Bus also reaffirmed their position.

Bus drivers have sought a 15pc pay increase, along with a payment in lieu of a 6pc increase they were due in 2008 and did not receive.

Increase

Unions have roundly rejected the 8.25pc increase suggested by the Labour Court earlier this year.

Management at Dublin Bus last night said the 8.25pc increase is still on the table - but that the company cannot hike wages any further unless a discussion is held around productivity. Cliodhna Ni Fhatharta, media and communications manager for Dublin Bus, said the company was willing to come to the table.

"It's the same as we were on Friday. Two days of strike action is planned for this week and we hope they won't go ahead," Ms Ni Fhatharta said.

"We certainly don't want a situation where customers are discommoded again this week...we don't want any disruption.

"The offer of an 8.25pc pay increase is still available, but anything above that will have to be negotiated on the basis of productivity. We don't have the finances to fund anything above that," the spokeswoman added.

However, NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary last night said the issue of a flat pay increase must be dealt with first - before productivity.

Mr O'Leary also criticised transport minister Shane Ross, saying he has not tried to resolve the dispute because he is distracted by other issues

"He has other fish to fry, the minister is very busy trying to keep the Government together.

"His role should be to facilitate to get Dublin Bus and unions to sit around the table.

"We're open to going back around the table, but the flat pay rise needs to be addressed first," Mr O'Leary said.

Blow

Meanwhile, plans to privatise 10pc of Dublin Bus routes have been dealt a blow after two operators pulled out of a competition for the contract.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) announced in December 2013 that 10pc of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann routes would be put out to tender - with services due to start in 2016.

However, National Express and a consortium between Dualway and RATP Dev have now pulled out of the completion.

Dualway chief executive David McConn said the consortium pulled out because the process was taking too long.

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