Full Dublin Bus service from tomorrow as talks agreed
Siptu halts strike action after Labour Court invitation to help resolve dispute
Leo Varadkar said this afternoon he was hopeful the dispute could be resolved quickly if the two sides commit to “short and sharp talks” that will lead to a solution. “What we can’t get into is weeks and weeks of talks that have no outcome,” he told RTÉ’s New at One.
Mr Varadkar added that management and the unions won’t enter talks until the Labour Court and the Labour Relations Commission decide they share enough common ground to strike a deal.
Earlier, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Alan Kelly said the issues between workers and management at Dublin Bus were “not insurmountable” and “can be solved”.
Dublin Bus tweet
In a statement this morning he said 400,000 commuters were being denied a transport and the company was losing €600,000 a day and called on both sides to engage.
The dispute is over unilateral implementation by management of Labour Court recommendations aimed at generating savings of €11.7 million.
A spokeswoman for Dublin Bus told RTE’s Morning Ireland programme the company was anxious to engage in constructive talks, but added that any such talks had to be on the basis of securing the required savings.
On the same programme NBRU assistant general secretary Dermot O’Leary said his union’s responsibility was to its members.
Asked if he was concerned about public opinion towards the strike as more people are affected due to the end of the bank holiday, Mr O’Leary said the company had a responsibility as it was trying to change workers’ terms and conditions without agreement.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn also entered the debate today, saying unions should rethink their approach to the dispute. “As an outsider looking at the proposal made by the Labour Court it seems very fair and reasonable to me,” he said.
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.
Fianna Fáil yesterday criticised Mr Varadkar for “sitting on the sidelines” while passengers were left to suffer.
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.