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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Bus Éireann to cut 300 jobs as workers mount indefinite all-out strike

The company faces going bust in a couple of weeks if strike action continues, as it burns through cash reserves of €7m with losses of €500,000 a day during the strike (Stock picture)
The company faces going bust in a couple of weeks if strike action continues, as it burns through cash reserves of €7m with losses of €500,000 a day during the strike (Stock picture)

Anne-Marie Walsh and Conor Feehan

Bus Éireann will seek 300 job losses under a €30m survival plan to be presented to its board on Monday.

The board will consider a blueprint for the business that includes a voluntary redundancy scheme put forward by management as the company faces the threat of insolvency within weeks.

The Irish Independent previously revealed the company has earmarked 60 managerial, executive and clerical roles, 40 engineering and maintenance jobs and 20 inspectors' positions for redundancy.

Sources revealed it will also seek to reduce driver numbers by 180.

However, the plan hinges on agreement with unions for its 2,600 strong workforce, who mounted an all-out strike yesterday after the company decided to impose payroll cuts.

The average age of drivers at Bus Éireann is 52, so there could be considerable interest among those close to retirement in the scheme. It would be funded by the CIÉ Group, and Bus Éireann through sales of property, and recent savings by cutting ad hoc overtime and a clampdown on bus hire.

Workers will be recruited in the technology area and there will be opportunities for redeployment under the plan.

Meanwhile, school and Dublin Bus services may be hit within days if industrial action at Bus Éireann spreads across its sister companies at CIÉ.

The company faces going bust in a couple of weeks if strike action continues, as it burns through cash reserves of €7m with losses of €500,000 a day during the strike.

Over 110,000 passengers were affected yesterday after Bus Éireann workers mounted pickets and Irish Rail drivers took unofficial action by refusing to pass them at stations where they share depots.

Sources said the rail drivers had "turned the tap on" by halting services on some intercity routes and Dublin Bus drivers may join them to "turn it on again" in the middle of next week.

Dublin Bus prevented contagion from the Bus Éireann strike affecting its services by pulling its fleet out of the Broadstone depot and moving it to Harristown.

The only hope being held out to resolve the dispute is an intervention by the Labour Court, or a Government-appointed mediator to reach a settlement following two failed attempts at the Workplace Relations Commission.

Transport Minister Shane Ross was accused of going "missing again" as chaos threatened to engulf the transport network.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on transport Robert Troy said his lack of contingency planning was shocking.

"It's not acceptable for him to go into hiding in the hope that the problem just disappears," he said.

"Tens of thousands of passengers have been left without their bus service at short notice."

Irish Independent

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