Friday 17 November 2017

Ross: I won't be 'Sugar Daddy' for Dublin Bus

Minister for Transport Shane Ross. Picture Credit : Frank McGrath
Minister for Transport Shane Ross. Picture Credit : Frank McGrath

Anne-Marie Walsh

The Minister for Transport has warned he will not act as "some sort of Sugar Daddy" at Dublin Bus as services are set to grind to a halt for a fifth strike tomorrow.

Shane Ross said he will not "rescue" the warring factions by writing a cheque to fund a 15pc pay rise that is being sought by staff over the next three years.

But Mr Ross's insistence that he should not intervene came as the bus company's boss warned that the crippling campaign of industrial action will cost it €21m and leave the company in a "catastrophic" financial position.

Ray Coyne appealed to his 3,364-strong workforce to get back into talks and avoid further disruption.

With the minister unwilling to get involved, it appears that the onus is on the Workplace Relations Commission to intervene.

The unions say they are prepared to negotiate without preconditions but Dublin Bus says it will engage on the basis that any pay rises above 8.25pc must be funded by extra productivity.

Speaking at a Dail committee yesterday, Mr Ross warned politicians it was "really not going to help the situation to try to draw the minister into a battle in which he is not going to get engaged".

"I've said that I'm not going to produce the chequebook" he said. "You're going to have to believe this and both sides are going to have to believe that.

"I'm not going to say any more than I've already said in answer to these questions about the dispute except that I do urge both parties to get together.

"I will not, they cannot expect me, in a public or a private forum, to be some sort of Sugar Daddy who is going to rescue either of them out of a difficult situation.

"That is not my role. I'm a shareholder."

Meanwhile, in his letter, Mr Coyne said industrial action is undermining all past efforts to cut costs and could force the management to seek further cuts.

He said the strikes have the potential to return the company to a "post-2010 financial crisis".

Read more: Dublin Bus workers: Resolving pay dispute is our primary concern - not the All Ireland replay

Irish Independent

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