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Bus Eireann strike alert amid staff's pay cut fury

BUS Eireann workers will go on strike if the company pushes ahead with its €5m cost savings plan next month, a trade union leader has warned.

The company has announced it is bringing in measures to cut workers' holidays and overtime payments from May 12.

But National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) told the Herald that its members – half of the 2,100 full-time Bus Eireann employees – will not work under the proposed conditions.

General secretary Michael Faherty said: "We have a mandate (for strike action).

"The company intended to do the same thing back in January so we got a mandate that time to prevent them from implementing (the plan) without agreement."

Furious

He said NBRU members will not work under the new terms and conditions.

"They won't work under the new terms unless something happens in the meantime," he said, referring to the possibility of further negotiations.

SIPTU's Willie Noone said staff were furious at the company's announcement.

A statement from Bus Eireann said, in the absence of the cuts, it is facing "unsustainable" annual losses of €11m.

Bus Eireann warned that any industrial unrest arising from the implementation "would only exacerbate our difficult financial position".

From May 12, the company intends to reduce overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times for first two hours of overtime and at 1.5 times thereafter.

The working week will be increased for clerical and executive staff from 36 hours to 39 hours. Shift payments will be reduced and premium payments – such as double time on Sundays – will go down.

Annual leave entitlement is to be cut by three days for three years, from 2013 to 2015, and self-certified sick leave will be reduced from four to a maximum of two days a year.

comurphy@herald.ie


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