Dublin Bus strike looks set to continue tomorrow
Varadkar urges unions to call off action as up to 230,000 passenger face disruption
“The real top management, they’re not contributing anything,” he said. “The company has unilaterally introduced their plans. So we’ve had absolutely no other option but to react to what they’re doing”.
Minister of State for Public Transport Alan Kelly described the strike as a “bad day for public transport in Ireland”.
“Tourists, match-goers, festival-goers and members of the general public are being discommoded because of strike action,” he said, adding that the situaiton was “regrettable and unnecessary”.
Dublin Bus tweet on services today
“No worker wants to be on strike and management want the company to retain its services,” he said.
The Minister called on boths sides to come together to try to resolve the problem “once and for all”.
“If there is a better way to achieve the level of savings required to secure the future of Dublin Bus, then these need to be tabled and discussed as soon as possible,” he said.
There are also concerns the dispute may affect train users. NBRU assistant general secretary Dermot O’Leary said Irish Rail members would not stand “idly by” while cuts were imposed on employees at their sister company Dublin Bus.
“I believe this action was entirely avoidable and will be resolved in the days ahead but the stunning lack of leadership on the part of Ministers Varadkar and Kelly is extremely significant,” he said. “Their hands-off approach has the potential to lead to further disruption in the public transport network with strike action now hanging over Irish Rail.”
On Friday night Dublin Bus wrote to all employees urging them not to engage in industrial action.
The strike is cost Dublin Bus approximately €200,000 per day.
The halting of bus services in the capital is also expected to disrupt businesses.
Dublin Bus said the company had no choice but to implement the measures to stabilise the company’s finances.
A spokeswoman for the company said the strike would cause disruption to customers and further losses for the company.
“It’s really, really, disappointing, counterproductive and damaging,” she said. “Striking is not going to solve the problem and the financial situation will worsen as a result of the strike.”
She said Dublin Bus was willing to enter talks if they were “constructive around achieving the savings necessary”.
The company said that bus drivers’ core pay of around €40,000 per annum would not be cut while management and executives faced pay cuts of 3 per cent to 5 per cent. She also said that only about 25 per cent of drivers opted for overtime.
Siptu and the NBRU have said drivers had lost up to €250 a week from cuts in 2009 and faced a €94 cut for each day of the six Bank Holidays they worked per year, along with a cut of €35 if they work a rest day.