Saturday 16 November 2019

Now school bus and rail drivers back industrial action vote

Bus Éireann workers on pickets earlier this month Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Bus Éireann workers on pickets earlier this month Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Anne-Marie Walsh

School bus and Irish Rail drivers have voted in favour of industrial action in support of their colleagues at Bus Éireann.

Siptu said its members at Irish Rail voted by 73pc in favour of industrial action, while those employed as school bus drivers voted by 72pc in favour.

However, they may not join their colleagues on the picket lines if Bus Éireann workers accept a Labour Court recommendation to end a dispute over payroll cuts.

Bus Éireann workers, who are represented by five unions, are currently balloting or about to vote on the court's proposal which would mean voluntary redundancies and a reduction in earnings.

It called off an all-out strike by 1,900 workers after three weeks earlier this month.

Siptu Organiser Paul Cullen said the majority of Siptu members in Irish Rail and those employed as school bus drivers by Bus Éireann have voted to take industrial action in support of, and in sympathy with, their Bus Éireann colleagues.

"Bus Éireann workers are commencing a ballot on a Labour Court recommendation concerning this dispute," he said.

He said Siptu representatives are currently holding meetings around the country with members.

Mr Cullen said the ballot result will be "pivotal in deciding the course of this dispute".

Bus Éireann's acting chief executive Ray Hernan had warned that the commercial semi-State company faced insolvency next month.

However, the Labour Court said the company had revealed it was already insolvent.

Bus Éireann suffered losses of €9.4m last year and said the rate of losses are higher this year than they were at the same time last year.

A minimum of 120 drivers would take voluntary redundancy over 12 months under the court's proposal.

The court recommended a composite rate of pay for drivers to include premium pay, which would rise from €17.37 an hour with one year's service to €20.11 after four years.

Irish Independent

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