Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bus and rail chaos looms over wages and hours

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 30/07/2016 | 02:30

Irish Rail passengers may face cancellations as unions plan a work-to-rule after accusing it of a “disgraceful two-fingered approach” to its staff (Stock picture)
Irish Rail passengers may face cancellations as unions plan a work-to-rule after accusing it of a “disgraceful two-fingered approach” to its staff (Stock picture)

Dublin Bus drivers are set to ballot for industrial action after overwhelmingly rejecting a pay rise of 8pc over three years.

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Siptu has said its drivers rejected by 96pc a Labour Court recommendation for the wage increase, which is worth 2.75pc a year. The National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU) said its members rejected the proposal by 95pc.

The unions lodged claims for increases up to 31pc to reflect a recent Luas pay rise and unpaid social partnership increase.

Irish Rail passengers may face cancellations as unions plan a work-to-rule after accusing it of a "disgraceful two-fingered approach" to its staff.

The NBRU and Siptu yesterday outlined to staff a campaign of non-co-operation, upon which they will ballot in the coming days. Talks with management on a range of issues, including a shorter working week and productivity, broke down on Thursday.

Drivers will refuse to work on 'rest days' to cover for staff on holiday. They will also refuse to 'act up', by taking on the work of higher grades, or step in to provide cover in depots other than their own.

In a notice to shop stewards, the unions said it was "abundantly clear" that Irish Rail was "determined to block and frustrate drivers".

"As a result of this disgraceful two-fingered approach to its own staff, both unions are left with no choice but to ballot you (loco/Dart drivers) for a mandate for industrial action," said the message from the general secretary of the NBRU, Dermot O'Leary, and Siptu assistant organiser Paul Cullen.

Mr O'Leary said his union would now "move immediately" to ballot its Dublin Bus members for industrial action.

His members, he added, had strongly demonstrated their anger at the 8pc offer, compared with what was given to other transport workers.

Pay

The Labour Court recommended an 8.25pc pay rise up to January 2018 and said each grade of staff should enter talks with Dublin Bus with a view to increasing their pay further in return for more productivity.

Irish Rail has accused the unions of blocking the training of nine Dart drivers. Its letter said that as recently as June 25, the company had accepted that this training was "voluntarist in nature". It continued: "The trade unions have long accepted that surety with regards to driver training would form part of an overall agreement."

The ballot will begin next Tuesday and end on August 16.

Irish Independent

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