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Saturday 22 October 2016

Triple strike to cripple country

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 22/09/2016 | 02:30

Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the NBRU
Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the NBRU

The threat of an all-out transport strike now looms after unions warned that bus and rail workers would join forces to bring the country to a complete standstill.

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With 15 more strikes planned at Dublin Bus, and the prospect of stoppages at Bus Éireann, sources warned that rail workers will be next to down tools in support.

The threat of a double bus strike is already on the cards after the largest union at Bus Éireann announced a ballot over plans to turn Expressway into a "low-wage bus service".

The company revealed plans to implement new terms and conditions for Expressway workers, separate the business from the rest of Bus Éireann, and sub-contract some routes.

The National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) accused the company of dropping a bombshell with proposals that "threaten the livelihoods of 800 workers".

Sources said an all-out strike would be most likely if Bus Éireann and Irish Rail staff now joined the picket lines in support of members of their unions at Dublin Bus.

The result could ultimately be a crippling series of rolling strikes or all-out strike among workers at CIE companies.

Some unions feel a series of separate stoppages is more likely due to the sheer number of disputes in play.

But NBRU leader Dermot O'Leary said rail workers "will not tolerate the prospect of their bus colleagues being forced to stand on picket lines for an inordinate period of time".

Transport Minister Shane Ross, meanwhile, warned he would not act as "some sort of Sugar Daddy" at Dublin Bus as services are set to grind to a halt for a fifth day tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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