Bus drivers ballot for strike over privatisation
TRANSPORT Minister Paschal Donohoe is to seek legal advice on the legislation behind the Government's proposal to privatise 10pc of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann routes.
It comes as both Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) move to ballot bus drivers for strike action after talks broke down.
It is understood the NBRU had said it would begin a legal challenge to the legislation.
The Transport Minister told the Dáil the legislation had been "carefully crafted" in accordance with EU law.
The legislation allowed the National Transport Authority (NTA) to renew Bus Éireann's and Dublin Bus's direct award contracts, subject to allowing for tendering of 10pc of the public service obligation bus routes, he said.
He said he was aware of concerns about the impact of the legislation post-2019 when the direct award contracts to both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are due to expire.
"In light of Trade Union concerns, my Department has recently agreed to seek legal advice on specific aspects of compatibility of our legislation, in relation to the post-2019 scenario, with the provisions of EU law," he said.
Mr Donohoe said the NTA are satisfied they have the necessary powers under existing legislation to continue with the tendering process for the bus routes and it has the potential to save taxpayers' money.
The NTA is to press ahead with the April 7 deadline for the first phase of the competitive tender for the bus routes.
Siptu's Owen Reidy said a decision was taken to ballot for industrial action after the talks had broken down at the Labour Relations Commission.
The union's Willie Noone said workers in other areas within the two bus companies and Irish Rail would be consulted to see what actions they may take to support their colleagues.