Friday 15 December 2017

Relief as all-out indefinite Bus Éireann strike postponed

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Anne-Marie Walsh

Bus passengers can breathe a sigh of relief after unions agree to postpone an all-out indefinite strike due to begin on Monday.

Bus Eireann's Trade Union Group agreed to call off industrial action after the company agreed to defer the imposition of pay cuts.

But a resolution to the dispute remains a long way off as the company is seeking €12m in payroll cuts as part of a €30m cost-cutting plan management has warned it must present to its board next month.

Talks will take place Friday, Monday and Tuesday in the Workplace Relations Commission.

"Whilst we remain of the view that a multi-stakeholder involvement will ultimately be required to resolve this dispute, in deference to the WRC, we are prepared to engage in this process to establish if we can achieve some progress towards an overarching and sustainable resolution," said the unions in a statement.

The move comes after Dublin Bus agreed to honour a deal to count new pay rises towards its workers' pensions, lifting the threat of strikes at the company.

In a letter to unions today, Dublin Bus confirmed that an agreement reached last year to halt strikes that meant an 11.25pc wage increase over three years should be pensionable would be honoured.

Siptu said the pledge has averted a dispute at Dublin Bus that could have led to industrial action at the same time as an all-out strike threatened at Bus Eireann from next Monday.

SIPTU Organiser, John Murphy, confirmed it had received written confirmation from the management of Dublin Bus that it intends to honour settlement terms, agreed at the Workplace Relations Commission in September last year to resolve a dispute on pay.

He said Dublin Bus had sought a deferment of applying agreed increases in basic pay to members’ pension entitlements.

He said the delay was agreed until the end of January 2017.

“Over the last number of weeks, SIPTU representatives had repeatedly sought assurances from the management of Dublin Bus that the company intended to honour the settlement terms and apply the increases in pay to pensions as of 1st February, 2017," he said. "Unfortunately, such assurances were not forthcoming.

"It is disappointing that it was only when SIPTU representatives notified Dublin Bus of our members’ intention to commence balloting for industrial action, due to this breach of the agreement, that the company confirmed they would honour the settlement terms.”

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