Wednesday 22 November 2017

Explainer: Everything the commuter needs to know about Bus Éireann dispute as crunch talks begin

Hopes of resolving dispute in coming days

Bus Eireann workers on strike at Drogheda bus depot
Bus Eireann workers on strike at Drogheda bus depot

Kathy Armstrong

Bus Éireann management are going to meet representatives from the National Bus and Rail Union and SIPTU this afternoon at the Workplace Relations Commission for crunch talks.

The strikes have caused chaos for thousands of commuters across the country, particularly last Friday when Dublin Bus and Irish Rail staff took unofficial action.

Here's all you need to know about the dispute:

1. The beginning

2,600 Bus Eireann workers began striking on March 24 over cuts to pay and conditions

2. Losses

Pickets at the Bus Éireann depot at Turner’s Cross in Cork city. Photo: David Creedon / Anzenberger
Pickets at the Bus Éireann depot at Turner’s Cross in Cork city. Photo: David Creedon / Anzenberger

Bus Eireann recorded losses of €9.4 million and claim the pay cuts are essential to prevent insolvency, during the strike they have also lost €500,000 each day.

3. Warning

Bus Eireann's Acting Chief Executive Ray Hernan has warned the company faces insolvency in May and must impose a a €30m cost-cutting plan.

4. Calls for review

The NBRU have said they are going to call for a complete review of the management at WRC today.

5. Resolution

The NBRU has said that the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority must take an active role in the discussions if they want to resolve the dispute.

6. Claims

The NBRU's General Secretary Dermot O'Leary says some staff have had their wages cut by as much as €180 since January and claims some have been threatened with dismissal.

7. Defending pickets

SIPTU's Sector Organiser Willie Noone defended the decision for workers to continue striking during the discussions, saying expecting the to return to work before an agreement is reached would be "not reasonable or acceptable."

8. Previous talks

Previous WRC talks have collapsed over changes to overtime. Now, Transport Minister Shane Ross has welcome the latest round of discussions, saying he hopes "parties can come to an agreement that allows for an end to this recent period of disruption to transport services."

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