Monday 19 February 2018

Dublin Bus drivers set to ballot for industrial action after rejecting proposed pay rise

Dublin Bus. File photo
Dublin Bus. File photo

Anne Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent and Meadhbh McGrath

Dublin Bus drivers are set to ballot for industrial action after overwhelmingly rejecting a pay rise of 8pc over three years.

SIPTU said its drivers rejected a Labour Court recommendation for the wage increase worth 2.75pc a year, by 96pc.

The National Bus and Railworkers Union said its members also turned down the proposal by 95pc.

SIPTU wanted an increase of 21pc to reflect a recent Luas pay rise and an unpaid social partnership increase, while the NBRU lodged a claim for a 31pc wage increase.

NBRU General Secretary Dermot O'Leary said the union will now "move immediately" to ballot its members for industrial action.

He said his members by “emphatically” rejecting the recommendation have strongly demonstrated their anger at the award compared to what has been awarded to other workers in the transport sector.

“Whilst our claim for pay parity with tram drivers remains front and centre as part of our goal towards significantly improving the terms and conditions of bus workers, we had hoped that the Labour Court would have assisted towards realising this objective by at least recommending the same quantum which was awarded to resolve the recent Transdev dispute,” he said.

He said there is a “palpable anger” among bus workers after suffering two cost-cutting plans and no pay award in eight years.

SIPTU organiser John Murphy said that worker representatives in both pay grades said their members “expressed anger” at the proposals, and had not received a pay rise since 2008.

“They deferred a pay increase of 6pc due in 2009 and since then have also implemented several measures that have increased productivity and reduced costs for the company,” he said.

He added that SIPTU organisers are set to meet with section committees of both grades early next week to decide the next steps.

“Our members are willing to conduct a campaign of industrial action in order to force a just resolution to this dispute,” Mr Murphy said.

“However, industrial action can be avoided if management enters into negotiations aimed at achieving an acceptable resolution.”

The Labour Court recommended an 8.25pc pay rise over three years, or 2.75pc a year, to January 2018.

In addition, it said each grade of staff should enter talks with Dublin Bus with a view to increasing their pay further in return for productivity measures.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, said: "The Minister has expressed his disappointment at today’s ballot outcome and urges both sides to re-engage as soon as possible with a view to an early settlement."

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