Sunday 26 January 2020

Dublin Bus drivers to consider no fares day as part of industrial action, union warns

Dublin Bus drivers are set to ballot for industrial action
Dublin Bus drivers are set to ballot for industrial action

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

DUBLIN Bus drivers will consider a no fares day, an all out strike and 24 or 48 hour work stoppages, a union leader has warned.

The General Secretary of the National Bus and Railworkers Union, Dermot O'Leary, said a range of options will be presented to his members as they are almost certainly set to ballot for industrial action this week.

The union and SIPTU are balloting members after they rejected a Labour Court recommendation for an 8pc pay rise over three years.

"It is clear that a mandate for industrial action will be received from Dublin Bus staff over the coming days," said Mr O'Leary.

"We will ballot our members this Thursday and Friday in order to send a clear message to Dublin Bus and its paymasters that staff are deserving of a flat no strings attached pay award at least in line with the public transport sector norm set by the Labour Court in the Luas dispute."

He urged the Transport Minister Shane Ross to encourage Dubin Bus to reexamine the pay award on offer after staff went through two cost-cutting plans.

"We will as a matter of course consult with trade union colleagues in advance of initiating any mandated action," he added.

"We also remain available to discuss the concerns of our members with the Company in advance of any proposed  industrial action."

SiPTU Organiser John Murphy said the union sought a pay increase in the region of 15pc but the court's proposal was just over half of this.

He said the company is making profits again but drivers had suffered cost reductions and given more productivity over the last eight years.

Mr Murphy said members decided to hold a ballot next week as they had "exhausted" the state industrial relations machinery to resolve the dispute.

“SIPTU members in Dublin Bus have expressed anger at the pay increases proposed in the Labour Court recommendation which they overwhelmingly voted to reject last week," he said.

"Dublin Bus has made significant profits for the last two years and is on target to be profitable, again, this year.

 “The workers have not had a pay increase since 2008. They deferred a pay increase of 6pc due in 2009 and since then have also implemented several measures that have increased productivity and reduced costs for the company.”

He said the agreement of the workers to introduce cost reduction and productivity measures was crucial to the stabilisation of the company's finances and its return to profitability.

Mr Murphy said the Labour Court recommendation did not in any way recognise or attempt to redress the sacrifices made by the workers.

 "SIPTU representatives are available to meet with the management of Dublin Bus to try to resolve the current dispute," he said. "However, the possibility of industrial action, which will unfortunately inconvenience Dublin Bus users, is increasingly likely.”

The ballot of SIPTU members in the Dublin Bus Traffic Grade will be conducted next week.

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