Bus strike enters third day with no sign of resolution
No sign of imminent intervention to resolve dispute over cost-cutting plan
05/08/2013-NEWS- Dublin Bus workers lining the road into the Dublin Bus depot in Phibsboro, Dublin, yesterday. As today is the first public working day on which the strike is being held, the industrial action is expected to have its worst effect on passengers, with tuesdaygenerally around about 400,000 journeys rendered impossible. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Tens of thousands of Dublin Bus passengers face a third day without services today with little sign last night of any early intervention to resolve the all-out strike at the company.
It is understood there were informal behind-the-scenes contacts yesterday regarding possible talks but it was felt there was no basis for a successful outcome as things stood.
The strike will have its greatest impact today as there are about 400,000 journeys made on Dublin Bus services on a working day. Highly-placed sources suggested it could be “later in the week” before any third-party intervention by the Labour Relations Commission.
Some union sources have warned the dispute could escalate to the railways if there was no move towards a resolution by tomorrow or Thursday.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has maintained any industrial action involving Irish Rail – also part of the broader CIÉ group – would be unlawful as strike ballots have not been conducted. He said there was an urgent need for resumption of bus services. However he maintained the taxpayer had no money to give to Dublin Bus.
The Minister said intervention by the LRC was possible “but only when both sides are ready to cut a deal”.
“Tuesday is a normal working day. There is an urgent need to resume Dublin Bus services given those being inconvenienced – the old and infirm who have no alternative to public transport, workers who need public transport to get to their jobs and tourists visiting our capital city.”
Fianna Fáil yesterday criticised Mr Varadkar for “sitting on the sidelines” while passengers were left to suffer.
The dispute is over unilateral implementation by management of Labour Court recommendations aimed at generating savings of €11.7 million. The party’s transport spokesman Timmy Dooley called on the Taoiseach to intervene in the dispute if Mr Varadkar failed to do so.
Meanwhile internal figures seen by The Irish Times suggest staff costs per employee at Dublin Bus had remained static since the height of the boom and reductions in the paybill had come from falling employee numbers. The average staff cost per employee (including employer PRSI) in 2007 was €53,042, while the figure for 2012 was €53,943.