Thursday 29 September 2016

Bus strikes could cost city €66m as Unions ramp up action

Published 16/09/2016 | 06:39

Dublin Bus
Dublin Bus
Dublin Bus drivers have rejected a proposed cost-cutting deal.

The strikes at Dublin Bus will cost businesses in the city and the company itself a combined €14m by the time staff go back to work tomorrow.

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If the fresh wave of work stoppages announced yesterday all go ahead as planned, that figure will increase to almost €66.5m by the end of October. 

Dublin Bus has estimated paying staff the 15pc pay increase sought would cost the company €50m over a three year period.

Workers across all grades at the semi-state company have announced 13 further days of industrial action – bringing the total number to 19.

More industrial action could be coming to Dublin Bus
More industrial action could be coming to Dublin Bus

Business group Dublin Town has estimated that each day of bus strikes costs at least €2.5m in lost spending in the city centre, from commuters who decide not to travel.

Inaction

The cost to Dublin Bus – including €600,000 in lost business, €200,000 in fines from the NTA, €110,000 in leap card refunds owed and others costs – is estimated at €1m-a-day.

Both sides have dug their heels in and are refusing to budge, as Transport Minister Shane Ross again attempted to wash his hands of the situation.

“Minister Ross greatly regrets the grave inconvenience caused to the travelling public by this ongoing dispute,” a statement said.

“He is acutely aware of calls for him to directly intervene but must reiterate, that as any ministerial intervention could be interpreted as a commitment to open the State chequebook, it would be inappropriate for him to do so.

“He again calls on management and the unions to engage with each other immediately,” he added.

Mr Ross’s inaction has lead to an increase in tensions, with bus workers deciding yesterday to ramp up their industrial action following a meeting of unions.

The possibility of an indefinite, all-out strike was discussed.

However, it was decided instead that staff, including drivers, maintenance and office workers, would down tools on 13 more dates.

Representatives from the National Bus and Railway Union (NBRU), Siptu, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) and Unite were involved in the discussion.

Strikes, affecting up to 400,000 commuters a day, already took place last Thursday and Friday, yesterday and today. Unions had also already planned two further strike days next Friday and Saturday. 

In a statement, Dublin Bus confirmed it had received notification from the unions of a further 13 days of strike action.

“This industrial action is unnecessary and unjustified and will continue to cause significant disruption to our customers and trade in Dublin city.

“To date, this industrial action has cost the company in excess of €4m and continues to impact the financial stability of the company,” it said.

The company said it would asses the full implications of the announcement.

Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, said it was “unfortunate” that those responsible for providing

a public transport service

would not engage with bus workers.

Herald

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