Thursday 21 September 2017

Bus Éireann: 'Management behaviour putting future of company at risk'

Staff have been offered a pay rise of up to 3pc a year over the next four years if they accept the cuts and do not take industrial action. (Stock picture)
Staff have been offered a pay rise of up to 3pc a year over the next four years if they accept the cuts and do not take industrial action. (Stock picture)

Catherine Devine and Anne-Marie Walsh

Trade union Unite, which represents craft workers in Bus Éireann, warned that the actions of management are putting the company’s future at risk.

The union’s Regional Officer Willie Quigley was speaking following a letter to unions from management issued yesterday and released to the media in what Mr Quigley described as the “latest episode in management’s PRs assault on the company’s workers”.

Yesterday, the company announced cuts to premium payments, allowances and redundancies under a cost-cutting plan to save itself from going bust.

Staff have been offered a pay rise of up to 3pc a year over the next four years if they accept the cuts and do not take industrial action.

"For over a week, our members have had to hear their employer’s plans leaked to the airwaves and the national press. This is an unprecedented situation in industrial relations terms, and management’s behaviour is particularly disappointing in a company which describes itself, in the letter issued yesterday, as a ‘premium employer’."

The union representative said that leaking the report to media was the latest "assault on Bus Éireann workers".

“It will propel our members into a ‘ballot for industrial action’ situation as, having refused to engage at the Labour Court before Christmas, the company now wants our members to accept more hits on top of a nine-year pay freeze.

"In addition, these demands are being made in the absence of any engagement with the unions since the leaking of the Grant Thornton report. Eight days after it was provided to the media, the Company has still not issued that report to us - yet they expect the unions to sign up to a package of cuts and changes as a precondition for meeting with us next Tuesday. "

Mr Quigley said that their members' patience are "exhausted".

“Mr Hernan’s letter correctly notes that the key objective shared by all is to ensure the future of Bus Éireann.  However, management’s unprecedented behaviour over the past while is putting that future at risk.  Workers and their representatives deserve better of Bus Éireann: they deserve to be treated with respect as equal stakeholders.

“All unions in Bus Éireann will be consulting on how best to defend our members and protect the vital public service provided by the company and its workers”, Mr Quigley concluded.

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