Sides in Dublin Bus dispute to start Labour Court talks

Bus services recommenced in the capital following a three-say strike

Bus services recommenced in the capital today following the intervention of the Labour Court yesterday afternoon. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Bus services recommenced in the capital today following the intervention of the Labour Court yesterday afternoon. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times

Wed, Aug 7, 2013, 06:54

Management and unions at Dublin Bus will engage in talks at the Labour Court today aimed at resolving fully the dispute over an €11.7 million cost-saving programme which led to the all-out strike at the company in recent days.

Bus services recommenced in the capital today following the intervention of the Labour Court yesterday afternoon.

Representatives of SIPTU and the National Bus and Rail Union are due to meet representatives from the Labour Court at 2pm.

Representatives from Dublin Bus management are due at the Labour Court at 3.30pm.

Speaking this morning Minister of State for Public Transport Alan Kelly said he believes the sides will be able reach a compromise. This would mean savings for Dublin Bus and protect its future and the jobs of its employers.

The strike was the second in the broader CIÉ group in recent months, as management sought financial restructuring in the face of reduced State subvention, higher fuel costs and falling passenger revenue.

Business leaders maintained the three-day strike had generated losses of millions of euro in Dublin city. The strike was suspended by the two unions involved, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union, after the Labour Court invited them and management to exploratory talks.

Dublin Bus management said it would seek to facilitate the new talks by putting on hold the implementation of the controversial cost-saving plan, a move which led the unions to agree to lift the pickets.

Dublin Bus said a full service would operate across Dublin city today. It apologised to customers “for the inconvenience and disruption caused”.

In a joint statement, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and Mr Kelly said they welcomed the Labour Court intervention and hoped the talks would “lead to an agreement in the coming days that will ensure the long-term financial stability of Dublin Bus, the public transport services that Dublin Bus provide and the jobs of workers”. Siptu said the provision of “certainty” for workers would be a key issue.

Mr Kelly said last night he hoped the process would alleviate the fears of workers that there would be no end to the cuts being sought. He said workers deserved to know the bottom line.

He also said management needed to plan based on defined levels of pay that would bring the firm back to viability.

Siptu organiser Willie Noone welcomed the Labour Court move and said the dispute would be resolved only through negotiation and discussion.

In May, employers’ group Ibec called on the Government to change the law to stop strikes disrupting key public services.