More travel chaos as Dublin Bus workers plan six days of strikes
The capital is again facing travel chaos after workers at Dublin Bus announced six days of industrial action in a dispute over pay.
Unions representing drivers and other grades at the semi-State company formally notified the company of three separate 48-hour work stoppages next month.
Workers will take action on September 8-9, 15-16 and 23-24, according to trade unions Siptu and the National Bus and Railway Union (NBRU).
The strikes will affect up to 334,000 Dublin Bus passengers every day.
In July, Dublin Bus staff overwhelmingly rejected proposals from the Labour Court for a cost-of-living pay increase for each employee of 2.75pc a year for a three-year term, back-dated to January 2016.
The company said this represented an effective pay increase of 8.25pc within a 16-month period for all pay grades. Management accepted the Labour Court proposals.
Under the proposal, a Dublin Bus driver at entry level would see an increase from €34,568-a-year to €37,420-a-year in the period - or from €40,026 to €43,328 for a driver at the highest pay scale.
Dublin Bus management said it was disappointed by the decision to strike, while the unions said drivers had gone through eight years of cutbacks without any pay increases.
"Any form of industrial action can only have a negative impact on our company and will inconvenience our customers," a statement from the management said. "It has the potential to undo the financial stability achieved in recent years."
NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary said Dublin Bus workers were deserving of a significant pay rise and it was "a sad indictment on Dublin Bus and its pay masters" that no effort was made to resolve the issue.
"Our members' desire is not to engage in a dispute which will discommode the very people who rely on this most practical, most necessary public service," he said.
In a similar statement, Owen Reidy, a divisional organiser from Siptu, also spoke about eight years without any pay increases for the workers.
"During that period, they have suffered reductions in earnings and have co-operated with three comprehensive restructuring of the company," he said.
Both unions said members were seeking a 15pc pay increase over a three-year period and a payment in lieu of a 6pc pay increase, which was deferred in 2008.
The NBRU said this would represent "a building block towards our claim for parity" between bus and tram drivers.
There is still time for strikes to be averted, with both unions and Dublin Bus management indicating they will continue to pursue negotiations.
Transport Minister Shane Ross has welcomed the announcement of further discussions. "The minister welcomes the statement by Dublin Bus that it will now arrange to meet the joint trade union group to seek a way forward to avoid escalation of this dispute," a statement said.
Dublin Bus has recorded passenger increases since 2014.
In January this year, the company said passengers travelling on its 110 public service obligation routes and commercial services increased by 2.5pc to 122 million. Business group Dublin Town claimed the strike would cost the city around €2.5m a day.