Workers to vote on Dublin Bus proposals next week

Unions to ballot members after Labour Court talks on €11.7m cost-savings plan

The NBRU’s Dermot O’Leary (third from left)  arriving for talks between unions and management, after three days of strike action, at the Labour Court yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The NBRU’s Dermot O’Leary (third from left) arriving for talks between unions and management, after three days of strike action, at the Labour Court yesterday. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 20:10

Dublin Bus workers will vote over the coming week on whether to accept new proposals from the Labour Court as the company seeks to reduce costs by €11.7million.

Neither Siptu nor the National Bus and Rail Workers’ Union, which were engaged with the company at the Labour Court until 5am yesterday, will formally recommend acceptance of the proposals. However both unions have agreed to point out the positive elements of the proposed deal.

While the deal affects a range of operational and clerical grades, one of the most significant sticking points relates to drivers’ schedules.

Drivers expressed concerned about the effect on their pay of reduced services during quiet periods such as Christmas and traditional summer holidays. Drivers were also concerned about taking break times when operating services outside the city where rest facilities may not be available.

Changes to pay for overtime, rest days, and public holidays were also a cause of concern with the union seeking an assurance that reductions in pay would automatically revert to the current position after a 19-month period.

Spokesman for Siptu John Murphy said these concerns could now be referred to a process of negotiation at the Labour Relations Commission, whereas previously the Labour Court had found workers should accept the company’s position, he said.

He said agreement had been reached that pay would automatically revert to the current position after the 19-month interval.

In addition clerical workers who had been required to increase their working week from 36 to 39 hours will now be asked to increase it to 38 hours.

Siptu is to hold a meeting of Dublin Bus drivers at Liberty Hall on Monday, prior to next week’s ballots. Other workers across the company will be briefed in their sections.

Mr Murphy, said it was hoped to announce the result of the vote on Friday next. He said if the proposals were rejected, further industrial action would depend on whether the company sought to move ahead without agreement.

Dublin Bus has said the three-day strike had cost the company in the region of €600,000 making the savings needed more difficult to achieve.

The unions involved in the dispute are Siptu and the NBRU who between them represent about 2,500 drivers while the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association represents around 140 clerical staff. Unite and the electricians’ union, the Teeu, also represent workers in Dublin Bus and were present at the talks.

Following the all night talks Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State Alan Kelly thanked unions and management for their efforts through in formulating the proposals.