Fresh talks called in bid to stave off bus strike
Union chiefs have vowed to press ahead with two further days of bus strikes unless a series of commitments is given around the areas of employment and the potential for further privatisation of bus routes.
The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) will today launch a second bid aimed at averting this weekend's planned strike action by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann workers.
The two firms claimed similar action over the May bank holiday weekend resulted in a serious financial loss.
Legal action has been taken against both Siptu and the National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) in a bid to prevent further strikes.
The next phase of industrial action is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, a move that will cause travel chaos for thousands of travellers.
The row centres on the decision to put 10pc of routes out for tender.
The proposals by the National Transport Authority (NTA) would see several Dublin Bus routes put out for tender, as well as commuter services from Dublin to Tullamore, Portlaoise and Kildare. The plans also propose the tendering of routes in Waterford city.
The Government has said the measures will result in improved services and ultimately save the taxpayer money.
However, the unions insist the move will open the door for a campaign of privatisation, put jobs at risk and result in a deterioration of their members' conditions.
Union sources have insisted the strike action will go ahead as planned unless "substantial guarantees" are given in the area of employment, as well a commitment to address fears of further privatisation of bus routes in the future.
But in its latest bid to broker a deal between the disputing parties, the LRC will today stage fresh talks.
General secretary of the NBRU Dermot O'Leary said there are a myriad of issues that the union wants addressed. He said central to his concerns is the prospect of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann losing further routes in 2019, when current contracts expire.
Siptu organiser Owen Reidy said his union has put forward a six-point plan, which he said acts as an ideal compromise.