independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Anne-Marie Walsh: It's the last thing passengers need after fare hikes

FOR Bus Eireann passengers, it is the last thing they need to kick off the new year, not long after they suffered hefty fare hikes.

The National Bus and Rail Union's 1,100 members at Bus Eireann – of whom 900 are drivers – are threatening to down tools on Sunday.

Staff, who depend on the public for their jobs, could bring transport services for commuters around the country to a grinding halt.

The NBRU is putting its foot down in opposition to a variety of cuts in overtime, premium rates and other work practices.

Admittedly, the planned cuts are pretty drastic changes for a workforce that has already delivered voluntary redundancies and other savings since the recession.

It may be hard to stomach for commuters as the union has hinted that staff may ignore the legal rules and take action without giving the required seven days' notice.

But their leader, Michael Faherty, was in fighting form as he warned of the consequences if his members were forced to accept the cuts, which he claims would rob them of €60 a week.

Just hours after the ballot result was revealed, the union sent the bus company a cryptic letter serving notice of industrial action. Aside from the obvious threat of industrial action, the unwelcome letter creates other problems for the company.

It does not say exactly what type of industrial action will take place, or when, so it cannot begin drawing up contingency plans. Unless someone steps in to knock heads together, those depending on the service to get to work will probably be guessing for days.

Irish Independent

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