Monday 22 January 2018

Easter travel plans hang in the balance as Bus Éireann dispute returns to the Labour Court

Bus Éireann workers strike at Broadstone bus depot on Friday March 24
Pic:Mark Condren
Bus Éireann workers strike at Broadstone bus depot on Friday March 24 Pic:Mark Condren
Bus Éireann services may be off the road this Easter as there is no certainty that an all-out strike will be called off. (Stock picture)

Alan O'Keeffe

Hopes that Bus Eireann services could resume to save Easter weekend travel hung in the balance today at the Labour Court.

The hopes of tens of thousands of people hoping to use the bus service on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year rested on the outcome of the court's deliberations today.

Union and management representatives arriving at the Labour Court in Dublin today expressed hopes the dispute will be resolved as the strike entered its 20th day.

It was not known if the Labour Court would be in a position today to issue a recommendation today which could be put to both sides.

Greg Ennis, divisional organiser of the SIPTU,  indicated this morning that any recommendation would result in workers resuming work while a ballot of union members  was organised.

He acknowledged that the Easter weekend was very important to the travelling public and said "Easter travel is a key point in time for the company and our members."

"It would take at least eight hours to get services running again," he said.

"But we won't preempt what the Labour Court does," he said.

Irrespective of any Easter travel considerations, the court would issue its recommendation in its own time, he said.

In the event of a recommendation being issued today, there would be "a lag" in getting the buses rolling, he said.

"It would take at least eight hours to get buses rolling," he said.

Ray Hernon, acting chief executive of Bus Eireann, entered the Labour Court today flanked by a number of his executive team.

 "I just hope this will get to a satisfactory conclusion today for everybody," said the company chief.

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