Union warns Dublin Bus against forced lay-offs
PLANS to move Dublin Bus drivers to new bases will not go ahead unless workers are compensated, the company's biggest trade union warned last night.
And the head of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said all of the 150 jobs to be axed as part of a complete redesign of the city's network would have to go on a voluntary basis.
Yesterday, Dublin Bus announced changes to its services which will affect all 166 routes.
Some 90 buses will be taken out of the fleet and 150 jobs lost as part of a €12m cost-cutting plan, which the company insists will result in a better service.
But NBRU boss Michael Faherty said his union would not negotiate any deal that involved forced lay-offs.
"If we don't get volunteers we're at loggerheads. We won't discuss any aspect of this plan it if involves compulsory redundancy.
"We just won't negotiate any (such) deal," Mr Faherty said.
The NBRU has 1,600 members and represents two-thirds of all drivers.
Some of its members will have to move depots when routes are merged and axed over the next 15 months under the 'Network Direct' plan revealed in yesterday's Irish Independent.
The number of routes will increase from the present 166, with orbital services around the city going from five to eight and the number of cross-city routes through the centre increasing from nine to 17.
There will be fewer diversions from Quality Bus Corridors, with the most direct routes operated from the suburbs to the city centre.
The first areas to be affected will be Blanchardstown, Stillorgan and Lucan, where routes will be redesigned by July.
The company claims its 450,000 daily commuters will benefit with buses every five minutes on busy routes, and every 10 minutes on less-trafficked services in the capital.
But the claims were dismissed by the opposition last night, who described them as a "con job".
Fine Gael's transport spokesman Fergus O'Dowd said customers would not benefit. "Dublin Bus's plans just don't stack up for passengers," he said.
"The company is axing routes, laying off staff and cutting back on its bus fleet. How can that be of benefit to anyone?"
The network review comes a year after the company cut 290 jobs and withdrew 120 buses from services.
This means the fleet will have been cut by almost 20pc in the space of a year.