Unions will negotiate with 'no preconditions'
One of the trade unions central to the ongoing Dublin Bus dispute has told Transport Minister Shane Ross that it is willing to come to the negotiating table this week as long as there are no "preconditions" in place.
The National Bus and Railway Union (NBRU) last night hit out at what it described as a "lie" that drivers are seeking that Mr Ross "open the State chequebook".
Mr Ross has used the term on several occasions since the dispute escalated last month.
In a letter seen by the Irish Independent, NBRU General Secretary Dermot O'Leary challenged Mr Ross over the claim.
"Neither I nor my members require you to 'open the State chequebook' in order to resolve this dispute," the union boss wrote.
Mr O'Leary told Mr Ross that his department must not be "found wanting" and should show leadership and intervene.
"The workers at Dublin Bus along with 400,000 commuters that require this vital service are relying on all of the parties to this dispute to show leadership in attempting to find a resolution which will enable our members to do what they do best, providing a public transport service to the community," Mr O'Leary said.
"We on the trade union side will provide leadership on behalf of our members and come to the negotiating table (if requested) without any preconditions, you will of course appreciate that the other party to this dispute will be required to reciprocate if we are to resolve this dispute.
"Minister, it is hoped that your Department will not be found wanting when it comes to doing the right thing by commuters and staff alike by assisting in arriving at a speedy resolution to this dispute," he added.
A further wave of strike action is to commence on Friday and Saturday, while there are also plans to hold action the following Saturday, which will coincide with the All Ireland football final replay.
Mr Ross has been criticised by the Opposition over his lack of response.
In the letter, Mr O'Leary also refers to remarks made by Ross's Independent Alliance colleague Finian McGrath, who said on Saturday talks should re-commence at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and that there should be no preconditions in place.
Mr McGrath told 'Saturday with Claire Byrne' that Mr Ross shared this view.
"This, Minister is exactly the position the trade unions have been articulating ever since the Industrial Action commenced," Mr O'Leary said.
Describing Mr McGrath's political leanings as "left of the political spectrum", Mr O'Leary told Mr Ross: "It was his comments with regards to your position which intrigued me more than his much welcome support".