Siptu votes for Bus Éireann action
A third trade union has voted in favour of industrial action at Bus Éireann, which could cause disruption to services from the weekend.
Members of Siptu have joined workers from the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association and National Bus and Rail Union in supporting a call for industrial action over planned cuts to pay and employment conditions as part of a Bus Éireann recovery plan.
Siptu said 91 per cent of members balloted had voted in favour of taking strike action rather than “less effective industrial action due to the seriousness of the issues at stake and the unacceptable unilateral actions" of the company.
“Our members have always been willing to change working conditions and practices within reason but are not prepared to have changes unilaterally imposed on them,” Siptu organiser Willie Noone said. “This decision is a direct response to the threat by management to dictate change and cut the pay of our members.”
Mr Noone said that it is expected that the strike action will affect Bus Éireann services country-wide from Thursday, January 19th, and could spread to other companies in the CIÉ group.
Among the measures which Bus Éireann is planning to implemented are a reduction of overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times; an increase in working week for clerical and executive staff from 36 hours to 39 hours; cuts in shift, premium and rota payments; the curtailing of annual leave entitlement by three days for three years (2013-2015); and a scaling-back of a range of allowance and expense payments by 33.3 per cent.
The company has warned that without remedial action it faces losses of €16 million this year.
Unions say staff could lose €60 to €70 per week as a result of the proposals.
Bus Éireann warned earlier this week that in the event of industrial action leading to a further deterioration in the company’s financial position, the issue of core pay and employment levels, which are protected under the current recovery plan, would have to be looked at.
A spokesman said the company was still planning to implement its recovery plan from next weekend.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has said Bus Éireann staff will have to make a contribution towards dealing with the financial situation at the company.