Wednesday 22 November 2017

Deadlock as clock ticks to next strike

Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, attends talks with Dublin Bus. Photo: Damien Eagers
Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, attends talks with Dublin Bus. Photo: Damien Eagers

Anne-Marie Walsh

Talks remain deadlocked to avert 11 more Dublin Bus strike days - including a work stoppage during the All-Ireland replay on Saturday.

Unions and the semi-State company arrived at Lansdowne House in Dublin yesterday for a second day of discussions.

Intensive talks began after unions dramatically suspended a 48-hour strike a little over three hours before services were due to wind down on Monday night. Talks are due to resume this morning after they were adjourned last night with no breakthrough.

Siptu and the NBRU have lodged a pay claim for a 15pc pay rise over three years, equal to 5pc a year.

However, the Labour Court recommended that they should only get 8.25pc, or 2.75pc a year. But it said further increases could be granted following talks on workers giving more productivity.

Dublin Bus has said it cannot pay more than 8.25pc unless any extra increases are funded by productivity.

However, unions are expecting an increase of at least 8.25pc without extra work.

They deferred weekday strikes yesterday and today on the basis that the Workplace Relations Commission told them there was room for significant progress at the talks after meeting with their employer.

Unions are losing more than €100,000 a day in strike pay as the dispute continues, while their members are sacrificing their wages. Dublin Bus said its losses amounted to €1m for each day of strikes.

A spokeswoman said: "When you include the early curtailments necessary on the night before (a strike) and the impact of dilution of revenue due to the multiple days of strike, the figure is €6m over six days. This takes into account fuel and wage savings."

Workers rejected a Labour Court recommendation that said pay increases of 2.75pc should be given on January 1 each year - from this year to 2018.

It said the pay rises reflected "the acknowledged contribution of the workers, by way of cost-saving measures to the company's recent recovery".

The recommendation agreed the company is emerging from a deep recession.

During this period, the number of workers was cut, wages were "suppressed" and productivity increased significantly to ensure the survival of the business.

It said passenger numbers were increasing after a period of continual decline, and fares had gone up - boosting company revenue.

But it said this recovery was in its infancy and must be allowed to develop further before the company could support significant wage increases.

Irish Independent

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