Tuesday 27 September 2016

'I just want the strike to end' - Downbeat commuters told to brace themselves for all-out Dublin Bus strike

Published 10/09/2016 | 02:30

Striking Dublin Bus staff at the Harristown Depot, near Dublin Airport. Photo: Collins
Striking Dublin Bus staff at the Harristown Depot, near Dublin Airport. Photo: Collins

Commuters are being warned to brace themselves for an all-out Dublin Bus strike as Transport Minister Shane Ross is refusing to intervene.

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Unions representing staff at the semi-state have scheduled a meeting for Thursday, at which they will discuss escalating the dispute and instructing workers to down tools indefinitely.

Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Robert Troy has accused Mr Ross of "completely abdicating his responsibility".

He told the minister to instruct Dublin Bus management to sit down with unions and offer workers an improvement on the 8.25pc pay increase suggested by the Labour Court, in exchange for extra productivity.

There was transport chaos in the capital yesterday and on Thursday, as some 400,000 daily Dublin Bus commuters were forced to find alternative travel arrangements.

Increase

Dublin Bus has already been notified of two further days of strike action - this coming Thursday and Friday and the following Friday and Saturday.

Dermot O'Leary, general secretary of the National Bus and Railway Union (NBRU), told the Irish Independent everything was now up for consideration.

"All-out strike will be considered. Obviously, the decision is not mine and we will listen to the guidance of members," he said.

Dublin Bus drivers have sought a 15pc pay increase, along with a payment in lieu of a 6pc increase they were due in 2008 and did not receive.

They roundly reject the 8.25pc increase suggested by the Labour Court in July.

In a statement last night, a spokesperson for the minister said he would not intervene.

"Minister Ross is aware of calls for him to directly intervene in this dispute.

"However, as any intervention by a sitting minister could be seen as a commitment to resolve this issue with additional taxpayers' funds, he believes it is inappropriate to do so," it said.

Fianna Fáil has offered tacit support for the drivers and Mr Troy said the offer should be increased.

"There's an opportunity based on further productivity to increase that pay claim further. I think there's room to increase that," he said.

Meanwhile, drivers have been speaking about the difficulties on the job.

"Getting spat at is the worst, I think," Noel Gallagher, speaking on the picket line at the Coyningham Road depot yesterday, said.

Coupled with the bad weather yesterday, commuters were feeling downbeat.

One bus user, Ciara Power (25), a teacher living in Raheny, said she depends on the bus to travel to Killester. "I just want the strike to end," she said.

Irish Independent

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