Sunday 19 November 2017

Is the end to 18-day Bus Éireann strike in sight? Proposals expected to emerge today

Dermot O'Leary Picture: Frank McGrath
Dermot O'Leary Picture: Frank McGrath

Alan O'Keeffe

Proposals to end the 18 day Bus Éireann strike are expected to emerge later today.

Talks involving the unions and the company were scheduled to resume at 10am today as hopes grew tentatively last night that the dispute may be close to a resolution.

Day-long talks adjourned last night at the Labour Relations Commission in Dublin.

Pickets will remain in place as the talks continue today - but both sides committed themselves to bring the discussions to a conclusion some time today.

The sides had taken a break from talks last Friday morning after 27 hours of negotiations ended with no agreement over pay structures.

Strike action over cost-cutting measures will enter a 17th day today despite tentative agreements being reached over improved efficiencies at the company.

Proposals being drafted at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) are believed to contain a plan for 120 bus drivers to take voluntary redundancy packages within the next 12 months "subject to funding".

A total of 300 jobs have been targeted by the company's board across a range of occupations in the workforce.

Voluntary redundancy packages would be worked out according to the operational needs of each Bus Éireann depot around the country.

The proposals seek roster changes aimed at improving efficiency levels to at least 84pc. There would also be a discontinuance of non-working rest days and the axing of certain payments.

The full implementation of fuel efficiency systems and seat reservations are also in the proposals.

Dermot O'Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, said: "Clarity was brought to a number of issues throughout the day enabling us to arrive at a conclusion that it's possible we might get a proposal in the next 24 hours from the WRC.

"It is uppermost in our minds that we need to get this resolved on behalf of our members and those that use the service.

"So the clarity brought to bear on those issues has been insightful and useful ... the commission will decide if there is merit in issuing proposals," he said.

He again called for a forum involving all stakeholders in public transport to be convened by the Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

Irish Independent

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