Saturday 20 January 2018

Hopes of solving Bus Éireann impasse dashed

Open to talks: Ray Hernan Picture: Tom Burke
Open to talks: Ray Hernan Picture: Tom Burke

Anne-Marie Walsh

Hopes of a resolution to a row that may lead to an indefinite all-out strike at Bus Éireann in 11 days have been dashed.

The company issued an invitation to unions to talks but they refused to enter discussions until it formally withdraws an "offensive" letter outlining €12m cuts from February 20.

Five unions have threatened to go on strike after the company announced it would impose cuts from that date.

Unions claim the measures would reduce workers' earnings by up to 30pc, but acting chief executive Ray Hernan says the average reduction is 10pc.

Mr Hernan has warned that the commercial semi-State company could go bust before the end of the year if a €30m cost-cutting plan is not rolled out as soon as possible.

In a letter sent yesterday, Bus Éireann's chief human resources officer, Ken Bryan, said the company is available to begin "intensive" talks directly with unions or at the Workplace Relations Commission.

It says it is extremely disappointing that the unions have refused to engage to find a solution to the financial crisis.

But in a response, Siptu said it will only engage in talks once the threat to workers' conditions is removed.

General secretary of the Nbru, Dermot O'Leary, said Mr Hernan's correspondence to staff was a barrier to discussions.

Irish Independent

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