Wednesday 23 May 2018

Last ditch attempt to avoid bus strike

Dermot O'Leary: warned of €5m bill for taxpayer
Dermot O'Leary: warned of €5m bill for taxpayer

Anne-Marie Walsh

Bus Éireann will today be asked to withdraw the threat of cuts to its workers' pay from Monday in a bid to avert an indefinite all-out strike that threatens the entire transport network.

The Workplace Relations Commission has invited unions and the company to "exploratory" talks this afternoon to find a resolution to the row.

Bus Éireann has threatened to impose €12m cuts to its 2,600 workers' earnings by axing shift payments and slashing allowances next week.

Unions will today tell an Oireachtas committee that there is massive travel disruption ahead and industrial action is likely to spread to Dublin Bus and Irish Rail.

General Secretary of the National Bus and Railworkers Union, Dermot O'Leary, will also claim that taxpayers may be hit by a €5m bill to replace services if the company makes further cuts to routes.

He will say the cost of replacing services to towns along routes between Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Waterford, Galway and Clonmel, could top €3.34m.

The figures are based on an analysis of the cost of the National Transport Authority having to tender for contractors to cover towns that were previously dropped on the route between Portlaoise and Cashel.

Hopes were raised earlier yesterday that next week's strike could be averted when the Nbru, Siptu and the company accepted an invitation to discussions.

But the Nbru warned that industrial action will go ahead without "buy in" by Transport Minister Shane Ross to resolve the dispute.

Siptu Sector Organiser, Willie Noone, said the union will emphasise that the company must remove its threat to unilaterally implement changes to its members' terms and conditions of employment.

Bus Éireann's Acting Chief Executive Ray Hernan has warned that it is in danger of going bust before the end of the year.

Irish Independent

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