Monday 18 December 2017

Hopes for fresh talks in Bus Eireann dispute, as union boss calls strikes 'unfortunate'

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

Kathy Armstrong

There are hopes that Bus Eireann and union bosses could enter into further talks and end the ongoing dispute.

As the strikes reached day 11 both sides confirmed they would be willing to meet for further discussions at the Workplace Relations Commission.

However National Bus and Rail Union boss Dermot O'Leary refused to comment on whether he would instruct his members to call off their industrial action during potential talks.

Mr O'Leary said he had "no prior knowledge" about Friday's action, which caused commuter chaos when Dublin Bus and Irish Rail workers went on strike.

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

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he said: "I spent every day last week talking to people on picket lines all over this country gauging the opinion of people, not just from my trade union, I spoke to people from all trade unions, there are five involved in this dispute and of course I come out and talk on behalf of mine.

"We try and provide leadership, that leadership goes beyond the NBRU, it goes to the agencies and we're supposed to assist those who provide public transport.

"We show leadership and they're supposed to do that at the same time, by that I mean the CIE group, the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority."

He added: "It was unfortunate what happened on Friday but thank God that we live in a democracy."

He criticised claims by Dublin Bus and Irish Rail that they are planning to sue the NBRU for losses they made on Friday during the disruption.

He said: "We've been calling for intervention in that group for quite a while and it seems quite strange and insulting that the only thing they've done in this dispute is to write a letter to the Department."

Bus Eireann also said that they will engage in crunch talks to prevent further action.

A spokeswoman said: "It is an all-out strike and, as per day one, all services are affected bar school transport and Eurolines.

"There are currently no plans for talk but the company has said we are willing to enter time limited talks on changes to work practices and efficiencies so Bus Eireann can remain solvent and have a sustainable future."

Meanwhile Dublin Bus services were running as usual today, a representative for the company said that there should be "no disruption to their services."

Online Editors

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