Taoiseach appeals for talks in Dublin Bus dispute
Dubliners facing their sixth day of disruption as services are halted until Sunday
Dublin Bus workers on the picket line at Donnybrook bus depot Saturday. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
Dubliners are facing their sixth day of disruption on Saturday as the Dublin Bus strike bites. Services came to a halt on Thursday at 9pm and will not resume until Sunday.
The Taoiseach urged both sides to enter into talks to resolve the dispute which he warned could cause serious damage to the economy if it continues to drag on.
Speaking in Cork where he was attending an American Chamber lunch, Mr Kenny said the Dublin Bus dispute was similar to any other industrial dispute in that it can only be resolved by both sides engaging in negotiations.
“Obviously an offer was made by the Labour Court. But it is necessary that both sides will sit down and discuss their differences here. This is a very sensitive time in Ireland as we approach a major retailing period in the country.”
Dublin Bus confirmed that the stoppage would extend to Nitelink services on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The company said it expected all services including Airlink and sightseeing tours would operate as normal Sunday morning.
It said customers would be advised of further updates on its website www.dublinbus.ie or on its Facebook and Twitter accounts @dublinbusnews.
Dublin Bus said the industrial action had cost the company in excess of €4 million to date “and continues to impact the financial stability of the company”.
Mr Kenny said: “This will do untold damage to the economy of Dublin and the retail sector of Dublin. It inconveniences hundreds of thousands of people but it also imposes serious difficulties for the company andserious difficulties for the workers and it has got to be sorted out through talks.
“The taxpayer gives a subvention to the CIE group in general of about €230m this year. I hope both sides will see the difficulties that are being caused for everybody by this and work out an agreed compromise that will allow everybody to get back to work.”
Mr Kenny defended Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s handling of the dispute to date, pointing out that Mr Ross had appealed on a number of occasions to both sides to engage with the industrial relations machinery of the state to try and find a resolution.
“The Minister for Transport ..... is not in a position to end this strike but he is in a position to encourage people to sit down, as I do now, and think about the difficulties for workers, for the economic state of the companies and for the inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of people.
“This is a case that needs to be approached in a common sense way and I hope that both sides will sit down and discuss their differences and arrive at a conclusion as always happens in every strike that has ever been.”
Further bus stoppages are scheduled for October. Services will come to a halt on Saturday 1st, Wednesday 5th, Friday 7th, Monday 10th, Wednesday 12th, Friday 14th, Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th, Monday 24th, Wednesday 26th and Saturday 29th.