Saturday 29 April 2017

'It's doomsday for workers at Bus Éireann'

Transport Minister Shane Ross was criticised by union chiefs for weighing in on issues regarding the reopening of the Stepaside garda station and the Judicial Appointments Bill, but meanwhile steering clear of disputes in Bus Éireann. Photo: Tom Burke
Transport Minister Shane Ross was criticised by union chiefs for weighing in on issues regarding the reopening of the Stepaside garda station and the Judicial Appointments Bill, but meanwhile steering clear of disputes in Bus Éireann. Photo: Tom Burke

Chai Brady

Staff at Bus Éireann are ready to take serious industrial action including an all-out strike, unions warned as deep cutbacks are due within weeks.

A series of meetings between all the unions representing Bus Éireann will take place up until the date of the proposed cuts on February 20.

But Willie Quigley of Unite said that anything less than all-out strike "wouldn't be sufficient in this scenario".

Overall, Bus Éireann's financial losses are between €8m and €9m for last year.

Its acting chief executive, Ray Hernan, has said industrial action will lead to further losses, and that the company's future is at stake. However, unions claim the cuts could mean certain staff will lose 30pc of their pay.

"A significant amount of our members are saying 'this is doomsday for us'," said Siptu's Willie Noone.

Both the NBRU and Siptu have a mandate for strike, although they will take industrial action as a "last resort". But asked whether an all-out strike will occur, Mr Noone said: "If it's a ­situation that a person's wages are cut by a large amount it's very hard for him to stop working and then go back to work, even though the cuts are still in place.

"It may not have to be an all-out strike at the beginning, but it may lead to that."

Transport Minister Shane Ross was criticised by union chiefs for weighing in on issues regarding the ­ reopening of the Stepaside garda station and the Judicial ­Appointments Bill, but meanwhile steering clear of disputes in Bus Éireann.

Bus Éireann was also ­criticised for the amount of sick days taken by staff, reported to be above average at 7pc.

A company spokeswoman said: "The acting CEO has identified this as a rate he believes must be improved through better management of processes."

Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU said that the absenteeism rate was an ­"attempt to paint workers in a bad light".

Irish Independent

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