Bus drivers: ‘don’t bring in the cuts and we won’t strike’

Industrial action is taking place during one of the busiest Bank Holiday weekends

Placards are seen outside the Dublin Bus depot outside Phibsboro this morning.

Placards are seen outside the Dublin Bus depot outside Phibsboro this morning.

Sun, Aug 4, 2013, 11:59

Since midnight Dublin Bus workers have been on strike over the company’s cost-cutting plan.

Staff are picketing bus depots throughout the capital because they feel the measures being imposed are unfair.

“We have to stand up,” one of the strikers said outside the Clontarf depot this morning.

“Don’t bring in the cuts and we won’t strike,” he said. “Get back to the table and talk, it’s as simple as that”.

The industrial action is taking place during one of the busiest Bank Holiday weekends of the year, which includes the Oxegen festival and the All-Ireland quarter finals.

However, the workers said they were forced to take action after the company implemented the measures without agreement.

“The company called this, it wasn’t us,” said another striker. “[The firm] put this deal in [motion]today when they knew what was going on”.

Outside Phibsboro bus depot Bill McCamley, a Siptu worker director on the board of Dublin Bus, said the company had unilaterally introduced the cost-saving plan and were the third such measures since 2009.

“We’ve had absolutely no other option but to react to what they’re doing,” he said.

“It’s another attack on our wages, it’s another attack on our conditions,” he said. “Even though our core wages aren’t affected”.

Mr McCamley also added that there was a lack of certainty on where and when the measures are going to end.

“There have been repeated cuts on subvention and there’s going to be another cut next year,” he said. “We’ve got the lowest subvention in Western Europe”.

“There’s no end to the sacrifices,” he said “At what point do you say, well enough”.

“As our wages and conditions deteriorate,” he said. “We have property tax [AND]all these stealth taxes which have been introduced”.

“Nobody is telling us that this is going to end at a particular period of time,” he said.

Mr McCamley also added that arguments that the company needed to return to profit were a “cop-out”.

“The means by which they are doing this, by making us subsidise public transport, that is not the way”.

“There has to be some sort of mean average where everybody is satisfied,” he said. “We have made all these sacrifices”.

Dublin Bus maintains the company had no choice but to implement the measures in order to stabilise the company’s finances.

A Dublin Bus spokeswoman has said that “striking is not going to solve the problem and the financial situation will worsen as a result”.

Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) have overwhelmingly rejected a Labour Court-supported plan which includes reduced overtime, reductions in bank holiday payments and in annual leave.

MrMcCamley added that one aspect of this recommendation has already been rejected by Dublin Bus.

He said the Labour Court recommendation stated that if the company returned to profit our conditions would be restored within 19 months. However, when we asked for clarification, Dublin Bus told us “that’s not going to happen”.

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