Bus Éireann unveils cost-cutting plan
Bus Éireann today announced plans to push ahead with a raft of cost-cutting measures aimed at addressing a projected €16 million hole in its annual cost base.
The company said it had informed employees and trade unions of its intention to implement a series of changes to the terms and conditions of staff from January 13th next.
The measures include a reduction in overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times as well as an increased working week for clerical and executive staff from 36 hours to 39 hours.
There is also to be a reduction in shift, premium and rota payments but this will be reviewed again in 2014 if the company's financial situation improves.
The plan will see a reduction in annual leave entitlement for all staff by three days for the next three years. A range of allowance and expense payments are also to be reduced by 33.3 per cent.
Bus Éireann said the move to push ahead with the plan followed a decision by trade unions to reject a request from the company to avail of a hearing in the Labour Court on the plan.
The company said it had repeatedly stated since June that failure to agree to this plan would leave the company facing potential annual losses of €16 million.
“This level of potential losses must be addressed in order to protect services and jobs and ensure the company can continue to invest in providing a quality service,” it said.
“As it is imperative that the company make the required savings there is now no option but to implement changes to employees’ terms and conditions. It is regrettable that these steps have to be taken, however they are necessary in order to protect basic pay and jobs,” a spokesman for Bus Éireann said.
The company's main trade unions have yet to formulate a response to the announcement.
Data from the Central Statistics Office, published yesterday, revealed 69 per cent of commuters in Ireland travelled to school or work by car instead of using public transport. In contrast to the dependence on cars, the number of commuters using public buses fell by 23,277 between 2006 and 2011, a drop of 20 per cent, the figures showed.