Thursday 8 December 2016

Chaos looms for commuters as Dublin Bus strike talks collapse

Published 05/09/2016 | 02:30

Shane Ross at the All-Ireland hurling final yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers
Shane Ross at the All-Ireland hurling final yesterday. Photo: Damien Eagers

More than 400,000 commuters face travel chaos later this week as the first of six planned strikes by Dublin Bus is set to go ahead.

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Bus services in the capital will grind to a halt on Thursday and Friday, leaving some 400,000 commuters scrambling to find alternative transport.

The strike will have an enormous impact on other modes of public transport, including rail and Luas services, as well as on traffic volumes, said a Dublin bus spokesperson.

"It will be very difficult to get around in the city. It will have a huge impact," she said.

However, Dermot O'Leary, general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said no new talks between it and five other unions representing Dublin Bus workers and management were scheduled after talks aimed at averting a strike collapsed last Friday.

"Unfortunately, it would appear to me that the dispute will go ahead," he said.

The dispute over pay will see four more days of strike action on Thursday September 15, Friday September 16, Friday September 23 and Saturday September 24.

Read more: 'An exercise in futility' - Talks between Dublin Bus and drivers break down yet again

At issue is a 15pc pay hike over three years sought by Dublin Bus drivers to bring them into line with the salary of Luas drivers.

However, Dublin Bus said it simply can't afford the pay hikes and met with unions last Friday to "get clarity and see if there was a way to avert industrial action" after the unions rejected a recommendation by the Labour Court of an 8.2pc pay increase over three years.

"We can't afford to pay above the Labour Court recommendation," the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Shane Ross has come under fire for remarks he made on 'The Late Late Show' last Friday, when he was asked if he had regrets over taking over the transport portfolio. While noting the looming strikes, he said: "Transport has been a doddle compared to sport" in reference to scandals plaguing the Rio Olympics under his watch as Sports Minister.

Irish Independent

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