Siptu warns over further Dublin Bus strike
Union says action inevitable if compnay unilaterally reimposes cost-savings measures
Striking bus drivers pictured outside the Dublin Bus garage in Donnybrook during a recent strike at the company. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times
Siptu has warned further strike action is inevitable if Dublin Bus unilaterally reimposes cost-savings measures.
On Friday, Dublin Bus staff represented by the NBRU, the National Bus and Rail Union, and Siptu rejected Labour Court proposals aimed at settling a dispute which caused a strike over the August bank holiday weekend.
The strike was triggered when management unilaterally implemented €2 million of cost-saving measures set out in an earlier Labour Court recommendation which had been rejected by staff following more than a year of talks.
The measure included cuts to overtime, increases to the working week and reductions in paid leave.
The driver’s rejection of the proposals does not necessarily mean the strike will resume.
However, Siptu warned that if Dublin Bus acts unilaterally to cut costs, industrial action will be unavoidable.
“Whatever day they bring it in, the strike will follow straight away,” according to Siptu sector organiser Willie Noone. “Our view is that they need to reflect on this result.”
Mr Noone said while neither the union nor its members wanted to strike, the resolve of drivers is very strong. “It’s been very clear from the drivers that these measures are not acceptable,” he said. “€68 million of savings have been taken out of Dublin Bus over the last few years. [STAFF]are not willing to take these continuous cuts, cuts, cuts”.
Mr Noone insisted the workers are not highly paid. “They can’t take the cuts. It’s a very serious situation now”.
Dublin Bus said on Friday night it was disappointed at the decision but would await the outcome of ballots by other worker groups before commenting further on what action it might take.
Mr Noone said other worker groups were likely to accept accept the proposals.
However, Siptu and the NBRU represent more than 2,000 staff, well over half of Dublin Bus’s total workforce.
Following the three-day strike action, which starred on the Sunday of the August bank holiday weekend, both unions and Dublin Bus entered talks.
The negotiations led to a revised proposal, which included fewer holidays, a longer working week, changes to overtime and an annual pay cut of up to €3,200 for senior management.
It was also agreed that reductions in pay would automatically revert to the current position after a 19-month period.
Clerical workers, who had been required to increase their working week from 36 hours to 39, were asked to increase it to 38 hours.