Friday 30 September 2016

NBRU remain firm on pay stance as Dublin Bus services grind to a halt

Anne-Marie Walsh & Louise Kelly

Published 14/09/2016 | 16:30

Further disruptive Dublin Bus strikes are set to go ahead this week
Further disruptive Dublin Bus strikes are set to go ahead this week

Dublin Bus services have come come to a halt again this evening - and will not resume until Saturday morning.

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The stoppage is the second two day strike in as many weeks in the latest industrial action in the ongoing pay dispute.

Services stopped at 9pm - similar to last Wednesday night - to allow the bus fleet to return to their respective depots.

Earlier today, the Chief Executive of Dublin Bus warned his 3,364 staff that embarking on further strikes will “totally undermine” the company’s credibility and cost it over €5m.

In a letter sent this afternoon, Ray Coyne said a 2.75pc pay rise the company is willing to pay each year for three years is “well above the industry norm” of 2pc in the public and private sectors.

“As a result of the proposed industrial action, the second 48-hour stoppage will begin at 9pm tonight and cause huge disruption to our services and customers until midnight on Friday,” said Mr Coyne.

“This action will totally undermine the credibility of the company as being the best operator of the bus network in Dublin."

Mr Coyne's warning regarding losing credibility comes as it competes with Transdev and other operators who are tendering for 10pc of the bus service.

He said this was in spite of a 13-month process of meetings with the unions in the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

He said this had resulted in a Labour Court recommendation which will give every employee a pay rise of 8.25pc over 16 months.

They would get 2.75pc backdated to January this year that would be paid once they accepted the pay recommendation. They would get a further 2.75pc from January next year, and another 2.75pc in January the following year.

“This pay award is well above the industry norm (approximately 2pc) in the public and private sector,” he said. “We believe this pay award to be fair and reasonable and acknowledges the contribution of all employees to the company’s recent financial recovery.”

He noted that the Labour Court recommended that talks on productivity measures begin in the Workplace Relations Commission with every grade of employee with a view to increasing pay over and above the 8.25pc flat pay award.

“The company is available to enter discussions immediately with each grade with a view to completing this process as soon as possible,” he said.

He said each day of strike action is costing the company over €600,000 and the series of proposed stoppages will cost the company in excess of €5m.

“This cost is unnecessary and avoidable and will seriously undermine our ability to fund the 8.25pc recommended by the Labour Court,” he said.

“It is in everyone’s interest to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible. I believe that the Workplace Relations Commission is the correct forum for further engagement as provided for in the Labour Court Recommendation and I urge all grades to engage in that process and avoid any further disruption of services.”

NBRU's Dermot O'Leary responded to Mr Coyne's letter this evening saying it was not his "desire to purposely pick or poke holes in to your assessment of the Labour Court Recommendation" but that it "would be remiss of me not to state the obvious here, staff clearly disagree with this assessment".

"The industry 'norm' to which you refer across public and private sector has one fundamental supporting mechanism, they are supported by agreements from those who work across those specific sectors. 

"The absence of an agreement on pay over eight long years, peppered in between with cuts to take home pay has is the main, been the central motivator behind Dublin Bus staff's demand to seek significant pay rise. 

Mr O'Leary said that he agreed that it was "in everyone's interest to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible". 

"However the setting of preconditions on any potential pay discussions on issues such as productivity, particularly given the fact that a significant amount has already been delivered, is not conducive to resolving this dispute," he added.

"The NBRU along with Trade Union colleagues are already on the record stating our willingness to engage in discussions on pay. This remains our position." 

A third 48-hour strike is planned on Friday and Saturday next week.

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