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Sunday 21 January 2018

Union says calls to cancel bus strike for All-Ireland final are 'insulting'

Dermot O'Leary Picture: Doug O'Connor
Dermot O'Leary Picture: Doug O'Connor

Anne-Marie Walsh

A Dublin Bus union will not play ball following calls to cancel a strike planned on the day of the All-Ireland Final replay.

The National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) said it was "frankly insulting" to expect unions to suspend industrial action on October 1 when Dublin meet Mayo again at Croke Park.

General secretary of the union Dermot O'Leary said calls to consider a suspension of the 24-hour stoppage planned on the same day as the big match were "premature".

"Our immediate focus is to find a resolution of this dispute for the benefit of commuters and the staff at Dublin Bus," Mr O'Leary said.

He said it should be understood that there were 400,000 people relying on Dublin Bus services on a daily basis.

"Asking bus workers who have already been involved in four days of work stoppages, and will in the absence of a resolution have been involved in more before the replay, to consider a suspension of their 24-hour stoppage just to facilitate a one-off occasion is frankly insulting to both staff and their regular commuters," he said.

"Those who are calling for this suspension would be far better served if they were to focus their energies on getting this dispute resolved for the benefit of all those who use Dublin Bus services."

The other main union at Dublin Bus, Siptu, also said it was premature to call off the strike on the replay day.

Siptu transport, energy, aviation and construction division organiser Owen Reidy said it was a coincidence that the work stoppage had been planned on the same day as the replay. "We didn't pick the all Ireland replay as a day for strike action," he said.

He said the strike was not due to take place for another 12 days and there would be four more days of strikes before that.

"So it is premature to even think about October 1," he said. "Our priority is to resolve this dispute before October 1."

The GAA said it hoped common sense would prevail.

The next Dublin Bus strikes are due to take place this Friday and Saturday, followed by strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, and further dates in October.

Meanwhile, the NBRU has said it is prepared to come to the negotiating table "without any preconditions".

It said Dublin Bus would have to adopt the same approach if the dispute is to be resolved. However, there is no sign that the Workplace Relations Commission is about to step in and invite the parties to talks.

The unions want a 15pc pay rise over three years, but the company will only offer 8.25pc.

Unite said the public were paying the price for what it termed "persistent government disengagement" after cutting the company's subsidy by over 32pc, or €28m, since 2008.

Regional officer Willie Quigley said Transport Minister Shane Ross needed to intervene and commit to increasing the subvention level to equal that in other European cities.

Meanwhile, the GAA has defended its decision to hike All-Ireland final replay tickets up by €10 to €60.

Stand tickets for the hurling final replays in recent years had been reduced to €50, but the GAA confirmed that tickets for the various stands will be priced at €60 for the football final replay, while Dineen/Hill 16 tickets come in at €30.

Irish Independent

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