Transport union has €2m war-chest
THE transport union whose strike has led to commuter chaos for bus passengers nationwide has a 'war-chest' of more than €2m.
National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) general secretary Michael Faherty said that cash reserves mean his members in Bus Eireann could "comfortably" stay on strike for up to four weeks.
The details of the multi-million-euro war-chest emerged from an Irish Independent examination of five years of the NBRU's accounts.
According to the documents:
• The union has more than €2m in "bank and cash balances".
• Just two officials and one staff member, including Mr Faherty, accounted for "costs" of €267,588 in 2011.
• Travelling, conference and union duty costs were €380,000 between 2007 and 2011.
• The union's headquarters in Dublin's Parnell Square has had its value slashed from €1.1m in 2008 to €600,000 in 2011.
• Membership fell by almost 800 in the four years up to 2011.
Mr Faherty confirmed that the €2m in reserves could be used to sustain industrial action saying: "I hope to God we don't reach that situation but if it does it will be used."
He said a four-week strike by Bus Eireann workers would cost about €700,000.
Mr Faherty added that union trustees had told him "we could be comfortable with a four-week strike", with funds left over should industrial action arise at another transport company, such as Dublin Bus.
He said: "I wouldn't like anyone to think that we were saying, look, we're going to hang out here for four weeks on strike. We're not thinking that way".
Asked if he would reveal what he is paid, Mr Faherty said: "Our union never, at any stage, ever discloses it."