Wednesday 22 January 2020

Bus Eireann prepares plan as 900 drivers set to strike

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

BUS Eireann is drafting contingency plans ahead of possible strike action by up to 900 drivers from Sunday.

In a showdown with trade unions, the company vowed to press ahead with its cost-cutting measures from this weekend.

And a spokesman for Bus Eireann warned staff contemplating walking off the job that, unlike those directly employed in the public service, they may not have jobs to return to.

The national transporter is drawing up plans in the event that a strike does break out with the potential to affect tens of thousands of passengers.

"We will certainly try to maintain as many services as we can as long as it is safe to do so," said the spokesman. "We would argue that any action on May 12 would be illegal as the unions have to give seven-days notice."

He said the firm remains open to talks ahead of Sunday's deadline, however only if they make "concrete and viable" proposals for the €5m savings needed.

"We have had talks internally, through the Labour Relations Commission and two days of hearings at the Labour Court. Throughout that 12-month period we have never had any alternatives from the trade unions," the spokesman said.

The firm said that it if it does not proceed with savings, its funds will fall to such a level that it will be in breach of the Companies Act "within a month".

The Labour Court recommended a range of measures including a reduction in overtime rates, a longer working week for clerical workers, a reduction in holidays and a 20pc cut to allowances and expenses.

Losses

The firm said under its cost recovery plan, workers' core pay is protected and there will be no reduction in headcount.

However, it warned that if workers proceed with industrial action, this will further increase its losses which already stand at €11m for 2013.

Spokespeople for unions representing the NBRU, SIPTU and the TSSA could not be reached for comment.

Irish Independent

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