Sunday 26 March 2017

Unions losing over €100,000 a day during strikes

Unions at Bus Éireann will be seeking a pay increase at a meeting next week (Stock picture)
Unions at Bus Éireann will be seeking a pay increase at a meeting next week (Stock picture)

Anne-Marie Walsh

The disruptive dispute at Dublin Bus is costing unions over €100,000 a day in strike pay.

Sources have revealed that the main unions face a hefty bill for industrial action as the going rate is €40 a day per worker for the company's 3,364 staff, although some of the smaller unions are paying €50.

The high cost is due to the large workforce, two-thirds of whom would generally be rostered on any day. It will put pressure on the war chests of the main unions driving the dispute, the NBRU and Siptu.

And with another 15 days of strikes pencilled in this month and next, the bill could get much higher.

Strike pay is paid by unions to tide their members over financially during strikes, as they are not paid.

And further industrial action could be on the cards for commuters around the country as other transport workers are set to clamour for the same deal.

Unions at Bus Éireann will be seeking a pay increase at a meeting next week.

The NBRU and Siptu are set to attend the Workplace Relations Commission on Wednesday to discuss a "long overdue" pay rise after lodging a claim for a wage hike.

It is also possible that the future of the troubled Expressway service could be discussed and any cuts could also trigger industrial action.

Members of the NBRU have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action if the company implements cuts to the service without their agreement.

Finding a resolution to the Dublin Bus dispute may hinge on the Workplace Relations Commission, with little sign of an intervention from the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, or an invitation to talks from the company.

But the commission is unlikely to call the parties into talks unless it sees there is some prospect of success.

Neither the company, which is losing €600,000 a day, nor the unions appear set to back down from their positions on a pay rise, although they say they are willing to enter talks.

Irish Independent

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