Saturday 16 November 2019

Bus strike: Possibility of breakthrough as unions agree talks with LRC

Bus drivers on strike outside Busáras Station in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
Bus drivers on strike outside Busáras Station in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

The prospect of a breakthrough in the ongoing bus dispute has increased after unions agreed to a second day of talks at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

LRC chief executive Kieran Mulvey has said his officials have designated both tomorrow and Wednesday in order to hold further talks.

The row centres around the decision by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to put 10pc of bus routes out for private tender.

The proposals would see several Dublin Bus routes put out for tender, as well as Bus Eireann services from Dublin to Tullamore, Portlaoise and Kildare. The plans also propose the tendering of routes in Waterford city.

Read more: Fresh talks planned to avert next weekend's planned bus strike - LRC

The Government has said the measures will result in improved services and ultimately save the taxpayer money.

However, the unions insist the move will open the door for a campaign of privatisation, put jobs at risk and result in a deterioration of their members' conditions.

There was travel chaos for thousands of travellers over the May Bank holiday weekend after unions staged two days of strike action. The move cost both companies hundreds of thousands of euro.

Read more: Video - Bus strike: 'I get the reasons behind the strike, but in exam season it's just cruel'

The next two day strike action is scheduled for Friday and Saturday. However, the LRC intervened yesterday in a bid to avert the strike.

Unions and the companies met at the LRC for almost three hours today. Sources say the talks were positive but said the threat of strike action has not  been lifted.

The talks have now adjourned until tomorrow.

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