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Bus Eireann and unions reach deal in late-night talks

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Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke

Leo Varadkar. Photo: Tom Burke

A NATIONWIDE bus strike has been abandoned after Bus Eireann struck a dramatic last-minute deal with drivers.

Commuters today let out a sigh of relief after unions and management brokered an agreement at the Labour Relations Commission.

The deal brings an end to the ongoing strike action that has caused havoc for families and commuters with 95pc of services cancelled on Sunday and Monday around the country.

It also ensures the protection of 2,500 jobs and 300 bus routes nationwide that were threatened by the strike action.

Crunch talks between Bus Eireann management and unions took place overnight with an agreement finally being brokered at around 11am this morning.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar welcomed news of the agreement, describing it as an "important breakthrough".

"I am hopeful that it will be sufficient to restore the company to financial health," the minister said.

"The priority throughout has been to protect services for passengers, get the company back on a sustainable footing, and secure the jobs. I know that passengers across Ireland will welcome this deal in principle," he added.

Saved

Bus Eireann said today that the deal will still result in €5m being saved every year, however, the the details were still being finalised.

The terms of the agreement will now go to the 2,500 workers for their approval.

The company said that if the measures are accepted, there should be no disruption to services "going forward".

"After extensive and intensive negotiations over a 48-hour period, including throughout the night, we have reached agreement with trade unions on a range of proposed cost saving measures that will deliver the cost savings required to protect the future of the company, the 2,500 jobs and the 300 routes that we operate," said spokesman Andrew McLindon.

The agreement, if ratified, will be implemented from June 1.

The National Bus and Rail Union was sceptical as to whether the deal will be supported by workers.

"I wouldn't be 100pc sure. There are significant improvements in it. But will it be good enough to get over the line? That remains to be seen," said General Secretary Michael Faherty.

noconnor@herald.ie


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