Dublin Bus to bring in savings plan despite Siptu rejection
Transport Ministers express ‘deep concern’ at outcome of union ballot
Siptu has said its representatives are available to meet with the management of Dublin Bus “in the hope of resolving matters still in dispute”.
Dublin Bus has said it will press ahead without delay in implementing a controversial cost-saving plan at the company, despite the vote to reject the proposals by drivers who are members of the trade union Siptu.
Drivers who are members of the the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) voted on Friday to accept the latest proposals aimed at addressing financial difficulties at the company.
Other grades of staff at the State-owned transport company have also agreed to accept the cost-saving proposals.
Drivers who are members of Siptu rejected the proposals by a margin of 51 per cent to 49 per cent.
Siptu and the NBRU have roughly equal numbers of the 2,300 drivers in Dublin Bus .
Members of the NBRU backed by 60 per cent to 40 per cent the new proposals, which were drawn up by an independent team comprising former Siptu official Noel Dowling and management consultant Ultan Courtney - who had been appointed by the Government, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and employers’ group Ibec.
Dublin Bus said that having exhausted all of the State’s industrial relations mechanisms, the initiative by the independent team “was clearly indicated to be a final effort to resolve the issues that exist amongst the driver grade, and its success was critical” to the future of the company.
The company said that, overall, 55 per cent of drivers had accepted the proposals.
It said it would commence without delay with the full implementation of its cost recovery plan for all grades. However it did not announce when this process would start.
Siptu organiser John Murphy said: “It is clear from today’s result that Siptu Dublin Bus drivers are of the opinion that they cannot endure any further cuts to their earnings and have not received from the company adequate assurances about the future of the public bus system.
“Siptu representatives are available to meet with the management of Dublin Bus in the hope of resolving matters still in dispute. It is now up to the company to decide whether it wishes to enter a negotiation process which could resolve this dispute without further industrial action and disruption to services.”
“The very narrow rejection by Siptu comes in the face of the conclusion by the independent experts, which was not disputed by the drivers’ unions, that the latest proposals were the best that could be achieved in the current financial circumstances and that the potential consequences for the company were stark, should they be rejected.
“There have already been substantial fare increases, and payroll savings are needed to protect existing service levels. There is no other solution to the financial challenges facing the company.”
The Ministers called on Siptu “to join with all the other grades in accepting the overall outcome of the vote”.
“Any strike will be prolonged as it is hard to see how it could be resolved given that all the industrial relations processes of the State have already been exhausted and there is no basis for any further intervention. There will be no winners and all sides will be worse off.”
NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said “our members’ decision to accept these proposals should be viewed in the context of the constant and unfair focus on our members’ terms and conditions over the last 18 months, brought about by a financial crisis not of their making”.
“The Government’s responsibility in providing a public bus service for the citizens of the State should not be abdicated at the altar of a policy driven by the desire to place profit ahead of service,” he said.
Last week, Mr Varadkar and Mr Kelly said the outlook for Dublin Bus and its employees was “very stark” if a final effort to resolve a dispute over cost savings at the company did not succeed.