Bus workers to stage 90-minute stoppage

NBRU members to organise protest march in Dublin next Wednesday

Earlier this week Siptu, which also represents large numbers of staff at the two State-owned bus operators, warned that the plans to put 10 per cent of routes out to tender would “ inevitably lead to industrial unrest”. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Earlier this week Siptu, which also represents large numbers of staff at the two State-owned bus operators, warned that the plans to put 10 per cent of routes out to tender would “ inevitably lead to industrial unrest”. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.

Wed, Jul 16, 2014, 14:29

Bus workers are to stage a 90-minute work stoppage next Wednesday against plans by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to put out to tender up to 10 per cent of the routes currently operated by Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus.

During the work stoppage bus workers will stage a protest march which will commence at Parnell Square at 11am and make its way to Kildare Street where a letter of protest will be handed in to the Department of Transport.

The demonstration is being organised by members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU).

Earlier this week Siptu, which also represents large numbers of staff at the two State-owned bus operators, warned that the plans to put 10 per cent of routes out to tender would “ inevitably lead to industrial unrest”.

The Government has agreed to open up certain routes to competition in order to comply with EU directives, and the NTA announced it was opening some 10 per cent of the routes operated by Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus to competitive tender. Contracts are to be awarded next year, with services to commence in 2016.

In Dublin, orbital routes rather than city centre services - such as those between Blackrock and Rialto, and Chapelizod and the Square shopping centre in Tallaght - will be put out to tender.

Bus Éireann routes earmarked to be put out to tender include commuter services from Dublin to Tullamore, Portlaoise and Kildare, as well as a number of routes in Waterford city.

Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann will be able to compete for the tenders when the competition begins.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said workers who were organising the protest were “extremely frustrated at the continuous side-lining of their concerns by Government and the NTA”. He said that despite assurances given to unions and repeated in the Dáil by the previous Minister for Transport that a structured engagement process was in place no such process existed.

”We had one meeting with the NTA where we were categorically informed that they would not be discussing staff concerns with us prior to the implementation of this flawed privatisation policy. As the trade union with represents the largest number of frontline workers across both bus companies, we find this position to be both untenable and intolerable. “

“We have as a matter of courtesy written to the new Minister for Transport (Pascal Donohoe) advising him of the frustration of bus workers. Frankly our members are not prepared to be led down a route which would have the potential for them to end up in a similar situation to the unfortunate Greyhound workers (in the waste sector).

The planned 90-minute work stoppage by bus workers comes at a time when the prospect of strikes on the country’s railways has increased as part of a row over cost-reduction proposals.