Friday 22 September 2017

Public transport passengers could face triple strike threat

Bus Eireann buses at Busaras (Stock image)
Bus Eireann buses at Busaras (Stock image)

Anne-Marie Walsh

PUBLIC transport passengers may face a triple strike threat after a union for Bus Eireann workers warned that their colleagues at Irish Rail and Dublin Bus will take whatever action is necessary to support them.

And Siptu and Nbru confirmed that it will finalise arrangements for a strike ballot at Dublin Bus at a meeting on Monday in a row over pensions.

It said the ballot is likely to be "overwhelmingly supported". The union said a date for the start of industrial action would be decided shortly afterwards.

Bus Eireann passengers already face the threat of an indefinite all-out strike at Bus Eireann from February 20 after management warned it will impose cuts to workers' earnings worth €12m  from that date.

Although school buses are not due to be affected by the strike , Siptu warned  there is an increased likelihood that they may be hit.

Transport Sector Organiser, Willie Noone, there was a "clear consensus" at a meeting today by Siptu members at Dublin Bus and Irish Rail to show solidarity with workers in Bus Eireann "whose conditions of employment are currently under vicious attack".

“The representatives of our members in Irish Rail and Dublin Bus have indicated that they are willing to take whatever appropriate actions are necessary to support their colleagues in Bus Éireann, as they all are members of CIE companies and have corresponding conditions of employment and work locations," he said.

The pensions row has the potential to unite unions at all the CIE companies in industrial action as they are currently involved in negotiations on deficits in the schemes.

It is also likely that staff may not pass the pickets at locations where there are shared depots between Bus Eireann and Irish Rail workers, or locations like Broadstone in Dublin where garages for Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann drivers are side by side.

Siptu has accused the company of reneging on a Dublin Bus deal that was struck last year to halt a series of strikes in pursuit of a pay rise.

The agreement said that the pay increases – worth 11.25pc over three years or 3.75pc a year – would be counted into pension calculations from this month.

But Siptu said the company has not upheld its side of the deal.

“Due to Dublin Bus not adhering to the settlement terms reached to resolve the recent dispute in that company our representatives are meeting on Monday to finalise the arrangements for a strike ballot," said Mr Noone.

The National Bus and Railworkers Unions also said it will also ballot its members at Dublin Bus for industrial action up to and including an all-out strike.

It said the ballot will take place next Thursday and Friday.

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