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Transport strike: Pickets lifted - but 'hectic evening' expected after 'wildcat' action hit bus and trains countrywide

  • Road users warned to expect 'hectic evening'
  • Dart, Intercity and Commuter trains cancelled this morning
  • Vast majority of Dublin Bus services cancelled this morning
  • Companies claim they were given no warning of secondary picketing
  • Unions condemn unofficial strike action
  • Minister Shane Ross: I'm not going to intervene in dispute

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The spillover pickets have caused travel delays for thousands

The spillover pickets have caused travel delays for thousands

Commuters waiting without success for a DART this morning. Photo: Mark Condren

Commuters waiting without success for a DART this morning. Photo: Mark Condren

Commuters take to cars and walking to get to work and school in Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

Commuters take to cars and walking to get to work and school in Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

About 2,600 workers walked out last Friday following a dispute with Bus Eireann management over potential 30% pay cuts

About 2,600 workers walked out last Friday following a dispute with Bus Eireann management over potential 30% pay cuts

Bus Eireann employee strikers  and supporters  at the demonstration outside  Leinster House earlier this week. Pic Tom Burke

Bus Eireann employee strikers and supporters at the demonstration outside Leinster House earlier this week. Pic Tom Burke

Commuters have been forced to make alternative travel plans (picture: Mark Condren)

Commuters have been forced to make alternative travel plans (picture: Mark Condren)

Commuters have been forced to make alternative travel plans (picture: Mark Condren)

Commuters have been forced to make alternative travel plans (picture: Mark Condren)

A picket at Clontarf DART station this morning (Picture: Mark Condren)

A picket at Clontarf DART station this morning (Picture: Mark Condren)

Dublin Bus drivers stand outside a depot this morning (Picture: Mark Condren)

Dublin Bus drivers stand outside a depot this morning (Picture: Mark Condren)

Tailbacks have been reported across the capital (picture Mark Condren)

Tailbacks have been reported across the capital (picture Mark Condren)

Tailbacks have been reported across the capital (picture Mark Condren)

Tailbacks have been reported across the capital (picture Mark Condren)

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The spillover pickets have caused travel delays for thousands

UNOFFICIAL pickets, which caused major disruption for early morning commuters, have been lifted but road users are warned to expect a "hectic" evening.

Tens of thousands of people were forced to make alternate travel plans amid huge disruption to Irish Rail inter city services, Dart services and Dublin Bus services on top of the strike at Bus Eireann. People were forced to revert to cars and taxis as they struggle to get to work, school and third level education.

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Unofficial pickets have hit Irish Rail and Dublin Bus depots (picture: Mark Condren)

Unofficial pickets have hit Irish Rail and Dublin Bus depots (picture: Mark Condren)

Unofficial pickets have hit Irish Rail and Dublin Bus depots (picture: Mark Condren)

Secondary picketing relating to the Bus Eireann strike caused the majority of trains across the country to be cancelled and Dublin Bus services to operate at a much reduced capacity this morning.

Pickets at Irish Rail were stood down at 10am but the domino effect will be felt for the remainder of the day, according to an Irish Rail spokeswoman.

AA Roadwatch are now urging road users to expect a "hectic evening" as most people drove to work this morning, and will have to do the same home.

"At present traffic is very busy on a number of routes out of the city centre, as is common for a Friday afternoon as people leave for the weekend.

"The fact that Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services have resumed, albeit with delays, should help things and mean they are possibly not as bad as they could have been," said a spokesperson for AA Roadwatch.

The N4, N7 and M50/M11 southbound are experiencing delays. Heading out through Phibsborough, Drumcondra and on the Stillorgan and Rock Roads will also be slow moving this evening.

AA Roadwatch are advising people to give themselves plenty of time to travel this evening.

An Irish Rail spokeswoman said the disruption to inter-city services later today will likely be minimal.

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Irish Rail update 7.40am

Irish Rail update 7.40am

Irish Rail update 7.40am

Chaos

But the unofficial action caused huge chaos for commuters and rail and DART passengers with 95pc of services not operating this morning, she said.

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Picket at Dublin Bus depot this morning (Picture: Mark Condren)

Picket at Dublin Bus depot this morning (Picture: Mark Condren)

Commuters have been forced to make alternative travel plans (picture: Mark Condren)

Commuters have been forced to make alternative travel plans (picture: Mark Condren)

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Picket at Dublin Bus depot this morning (Picture: Mark Condren)

Unofficial pickets at Dublin Bus depots have also been lifted.

"Dublin Bus wishes to advise customers that picketing by Bus Éireann employees at our depots has now ceased and services are resuming on all routes," a spokeswoman said.

"We are making every effort to resume services as quickly as possible however there may be delays on services for a period this morning due to the earlier disruption.

"We advise customers to also check our Twitter account, @dublinbusnews, visit our website, www.dublinbus.ie  or contact our customer comment line on (01) 8734222 for the most up to date information on our services. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused."

The NBRU said it sent a strong message to members about this morning's wildcat action.

It is hoped that similar action will not take place again but the union has again reiterated the need for the current dispute to be resolved.

SIPTU Transport Division organiser, Greg Ennis, also said that the union "did not organise and does not condone" the unofficial action which disrupted rail and bus services this morning.

Bus Eireann workers placed pickets on Irish Rail and Dublin Bus depots in the early hours, in a move that was unexpected.

The Bus Eireann strike, which has been running for a week today, is set to run indefinitely and centres on cost-cutting plans set to be introduced by the company.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said this morning that he was encouraging Bus Éireann and staff to return to discussions in a bid to end the strike.

However, he re-iterated that he would not be intervening in the strike.

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Tailbacks have been reported across the capital (picture Mark Condren)

Tailbacks have been reported across the capital (picture Mark Condren)

Tailbacks have been reported across the capital (picture Mark Condren)

He described the unofficial action as "appalling".

"It's just not on and the law will have to take its course in cases like this because this is not something which I'm sure, ordinary bus workers wanted to happen. The travelling public did not want this to happen."

He said it was confident that the parties would return to talks but said if they did not he would not be intervening.

"I'm not going to intervene myself in an industrial relations dispute... this is something which the parties have got to sort out among themselves. If I was to go into talks at this stage they would look to me to bring the taxpayer's money to a situation where it will be absolutely and totally inappropriate," he said.

Such a move would "set a precedent for every future strike" he said.

He said he had sought an increase in subvention for the company this year but re-iterated his stance that he would not be opening the public purse to resolve the dispute.

In Cork companies, such as VoxPro, took to contracting private bus companies to ferry employees to work from around the city.

Tourists at Cork's Kent Station were left stranded this morning.

German holidaymakers Gert and Inge Schaube from Freiburg had originally hoped to get the bus from Cork to Dublin - but then opted for the train because of the strike only to find themselves still stranded.

"We do not know what to do," Gert said.

"We did not want to hire a car but I do not think we will have a choice."

The couple stressed that they hoped the disruption wouldn't spoil their Irish holiday - but admitted they fear it could limit their ability to see the sights they want to.

Warning

Earlier, Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny was on RTE Radioto provide an update on the widespread disruption, which left most of the country without trains for four hours during the heavy morning commute.

"The vast majority of services are disrupted this morning because of the orchestrated secondary picketing which is taking place," he said.

"There was no warning of this... Bus Éireann picketers first turned up at a number of our depot this morning. We first got word of it not long after 4am and it became apparent that this was orchestrated," he said.

"It was designed, clearly, for maximum effect."

Dublin Bus drivers at a depot in Clontarf did not want to speak on the record about the secondary picketing when approached earlier this morning.

Close to one hundred Dublin Bus drivers were stood outside the depot at the time.

However, one driver said:

"We're not going to pass a picket. Everyone here took a decision this morning not to do that.

"There's chaos because we're not going to pass a picket," he added.

Bus Eireann drivers were positioned outside dart stations in the city, with placards addressing train drivers saying "please do not drive your train. Support the Bus Eireann workers".

Drivers say the latest contagion in transport action was decided by a large group of them as opposed to the unions.

Business

Dublin business association DublinTown also criticised the pickets that left thousands of workers without a means of getting into work this morning.

However Richard Guiney, DublinTown CEO said the unofficial action won't likely affect local businesses because most people who come into town to shop or socialise do so after the morning rush hour.

However, he said the wildcat strike was still not acceptable.

"DublinTown is pro-public transport but the service needs to be reliable. We cannot have a situation where all public transport disappears without notice," he said.

Cork Business Association (CBA) boss, Pat O'Connell, said trader concerns were escalating with indications that foot-fall in city centre retail outlets is down by as much as 30pc due to the protracted strike by Bus Éireann workers.

"This needs to get sorted out because it is now threatening to cause serious harm not just to Cork and rural Ireland but to the entire economy."

Online Editors