Tuesday 26 March 2019

Over 1,500 Bus Éireann drivers in line for pay rises worth over 7pc

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Anne-Marie Walsh

OVER 1,500 Bus Éireann drivers are set for pay rises worth over 7pc after battling for a wage hike similar to their CIE colleagues.

A Labour Court recommendation just issued proposals that staff get a 2.75pc wage increase backdated to January 1 this year.

This would be followed by further pay rises worth 2.5pc on January 1 next year and the same amount the following year as part of a three year agreement.

In return, the drivers will be required to cooperate with a more robust rostering system and Sunday working that requires they are available on two out of every five days.

In addition, a pay scale for new entrants would be extended so it would take longer to move to higher increments.

The pay hikes would represent a dramatic change in fortune for the drivers who were involved in a three week all-out strike two years ago.

There was a major dispute over payroll cuts after the company claimed it was close to insolvency. This was partly due to increased competition from private operators.

Staff accepted a Labour Court recommendation that meant significant cuts including 240 redundancies, a composite hourly pay rate and more efficient rosters.

In its recommendation, the court said the union sought increases in pay and the company “indicated a willingness to positively address pay”.

It said this was against the background of agreement on a range of matters “which, in the view of the company, are required to ensure that any upward adjustment in pay is sustainable into the future”.

The National Bus and Railworkers Union, which represents 80pc of the drivers, said the court had to be commended for acknowledging members’ contribution “in dragging the company back from the brink”.

General Secretary Dermot O’Leary claimed “those in officialdom” two years ago were determined “to drive this once proud national transport carrier over the cliff of financial ruin”.

He said the then CEO wanted to initiate a race to the bottom and make drivers work for a pittance.

Mr O’Leary said that his union is turning its attention away from the “spotlight of what may appear to some to be constantly speaking about transport disruption”.

He said it will concentrate its energies on issues away from the harsh coalface of industrial strife including ensuring that those with disabilities have equal access to public transport.

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