Tuesday 21 November 2017

Dublin Bus staff face pay cuts if €15m plan is rejected

Anne-Marie Walsh and Allison Bray

DUBLIN Bus has warned its 3,253 staff that they face pay cuts if they block plans to make them work longer hours and to cut a range of benefits.

But it has assured the public they will not be affected, after unveiling proposals to reduce its costs by €15m a year.

The plan means management and administrative staff will see their working week rise from 36 to 39 hours a week.

All staff will be affected by the cuts that will mean reductions in overtime, premium payments, and the amount of sick leave that can be taken without a doctor's note.

The bus company said it was facing an enormous financial challenge, with its state subsidy cut by over €16m since 2008.

Its passenger numbers have collapsed by 21pc, leading to a loss of revenue worth €49m a year, which it blamed on unemployment and a lack of spending due to the economic climate.

It outlined a cost-cutting plan to unions yesterday, after the other CIE companies Irish Rail and Bus Eireann also announced plans to stem losses this week.

Talks

The Dublin Bus plan is similar to the Bus Eireann plan, which also aims to cut the workforce's terms and conditions rather than impose job losses or pay cuts.

Bus Eireann faces €16m in losses this year but aims to make €20m in savings annually through its 'Programme for Recovery'. Irish Rail is seeking 450 voluntary redundancies, an option that was already used at the two bus companies at the height of the recession.

In a letter to staff yesterday, chief executive of Dublin Bus, Paddy Doherty, warned that pay cuts would be on the way if the plans were not rolled out.

"Dublin Bus does not propose to reduce basic pay, but this is dependent on successful completion of this plan and general economic and financial trends," he said.

He said talks with unions will begin on Friday next week, and agreement must be reached by August 13.

In a statement, Dublin Bus said the cost-cutting plan aimed to make the company break even next year. It said the loss of the fuel duty rebate and an increase in fuel taxes had pushed up annual losses of €14m.

Last night, Willie Noone, chief negotiator for the SIPTU trade union, said the union was not happy with the proposals. "We do agree that the company is in dire financial straits but we're not willing to go down to the lowest common denominator," he said.

Irish Independent

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