Wednesday 16 April 2014

Bus Eireann cuts staff holidays and overtime after talks fail

BUS Eireann staff will lose three days' holidays and be hit with cuts in overtime from January.

The company has taken the unexpected step of driving through cost-cutting measures after it said unions rejected a hearing at the Labour Court to discuss savings.

Overtime, shift and premium payments will be reduced, with clerical staff and executives forced to work a longer week.

The cuts are being made because the company needs to slash €9m from its cost base, or face massive losses.

A spokesman said the decision was taken because unions had “stepped outside” the industrial relations mechanism where the issues could have been addressed.

“We have to implement these changes because we need those savings to get us back to profitability,” he said. “They’re not willing to engage on those.”

Workers are represented by SIPTU and the National Bus and Rail Union. The unions could not be reached for comment.

Bus Eireann cautioned against workers taking industrial action, saying it would be “counter-productive”.

“Any industrial action would be highly counter-productive, because it will only increase our losses. We haven’t touched core wages, and we haven’t reduced job numbers. We want to protect jobs and wage levels but if we can’t get the €9m in savings through terms and conditions, we will have to look at alternatives.”

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