Late-night talks in bid to avert bus strike for weekend
Unions representing bus drivers last night signalled they had made “progress” and were assessing a draft document during intensive negotiations in the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) aimed at averting this weekend’s planned strike action.
Representatives from Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann were locked in discussions with the drivers unions, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) last night. It is understood representatives from the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Department of Transport were also present.
The robust talks continued into the early hours of this morning and senior sources said they were pleased with the progress that the discussions were making.
The planned action forms part of a long-running dispute with their employers and the Government stemming from plans to open up 10pc of the routes to public tender following an EU directive. Union representatives said they are concerned their members rights will deteriorate if this step is made. They also fear that several Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus services may be taken over by private companies.
One source said they were satisfied with the progress that has been made in relation to plans for what happens in 2019, when the current contacts with the companies expire as it is feared that further routes could be put out to tender then.
Drivers in both unions voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action earlier this year.
Almost two weeks ago emergency “exploratory talks” at the LRC broke down and bus drivers went on strike for 48 hours on Friday and Saturday over the May Bank Holiday weekend causing transport chaos for commuters.
It is believed that this move cost the exchequer thousands of euro and businesses are extremely concerned ahead of this weekend.
Drivers are due to strike tomorrow and Saturday and for three further days on May 29, 30 and 31.
The talks, which are taking place in private, were described as being “open and robust” earlier in the week.