Saturday 24 August 2019

Bus Éireann industrial action off as talks resolve rostering dispute

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Anne Marie Walsh

There was a breakthrough in talks between Bus Éireann and unions at the Workplace Relations Commission last night.

Unions said that a rostering issue that sparked fresh unrest at the company in recent weeks has been resolved.

The NBRU argued that the rosters were unworkable and some drivers had to work up to 14 hours a day.

However, last night both unions and Bus Éireann welcomed a second clarification document issued to both sides by the WRC.

The unions say the breakthrough will allow a Labour Court recommendation - that ended a national dispute earlier this year - to come into force on December 3.

The talks were called to end a dispute that has caused delays and cancellations of services in the east.

Sources said the rollout of the rosters was crucial as they formed the basis on which the company recently won a National Transport Authority tender to run five Waterford city bus routes.

The rollout of initial temporary rosters coincided with a spike in sick leave as 14pc of drivers rang in sick, compared with a norm of around 7pc to 8pc.

Complex

A spokesperson for Bus Éireann said that the clarification document "will ensure cost savings can be achieved to address the company finances in line with our business plan".

Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU says everyone at the company can now get on with serving the public.

"Hopefully after a very difficult year for Bus Éireann, for its customers, and for the staff, those new rosters will facilitate a work/life balance for our members, and a proper and full service for the people that are relying on this bus service to get them from A to B," he said.

Bus Éireann was keen to implement the new rosters that were part of a deal accepted by unions to end a dispute that caused three weeks of strikes earlier this year.

The commercial semi-state company said the rosters had to be implemented to cut costs as it tries to address losses and reverse its insolvent financial position.

Irish Independent

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