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Wednesday 20 September 2017

School bus drivers to get 3.75pc pay rise in September - Siptu

Over 115,000 children and their parents would be affected every day if services were halted (Stock picture)
Over 115,000 children and their parents would be affected every day if services were halted (Stock picture)

Anne-Marie Walsh

Bus Éireann's school bus drivers may be in line for a pay rise. Siptu has claimed the company has committed to give them a wage increase this September.

However, a company spokesperson denied it has committed to a wage hike. She said it would examine the union's pay claim on a "self-financing" and productivity basis.

Siptu claimed the company is doing its utmost to keep school bus drivers out of the all-out strike.

Over 115,000 children and their parents would be affected every day if services were halted. Drivers ferry about a third of the schoolchildren who use school buses every day. The rest travel with private firms.

A Workplace Relations Commission document seen by the Irish Independent, sent to Bus Éireann chief human resources officer Ken Bryan and unions, said: "The company will assess specific productivities/efficiencies as a basis for discussions and negotiations in commitment to a pay offer effective from September 2017."

It said "the company is committed to processing the pay claim separately within Bus Éireann". The document said the union's claim had been quantified in the context of "recent transport sector outcomes generally".

Siptu transport organiser Willie Noone said this meant a pay rise in the region of 3.75pc a year.

"I don't know what the pay offer is going to be but there is a commitment that Bus Éireann would be able to finalise a pay offer that would be effective from September," he said.

"What's left to be discussed is the productivities to justify paying this and the timeframe for any agreement."

Unions will decide on Friday whether they will ballot school bus drivers for industrial action based on the outcome of a meeting at the Workplace Relations Commission.

In a message to members, Mr Noone said if Bus Éireann members asked about school bus drivers' position on industrial action, they should be told the company committed to a pay rise.

"Hence as the company continually states it is in a different process, it is crucial that we can use this as a tool for making progress for other Bus Éireann workers," he said. "If they went on strike now it would mean the company was off the hook.

"Come next Friday decisions by the company will be to either honour this, which will be good for everyone, or if they don't it means school bus drivers will have no choice but to enter the dispute."

Irish Independent

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