Bus Éireann strike called off for 48 hours
NBRU lifts pickets and all main services resume after negotiations at LRC
Bus Éireann buses parked up at Broadstone Depot. Photograph: PA
National Bus & Rail Union, (NBRU) members picket the Bus Eireann depot in Broadstone, Dublin today. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
The strike at Bus Éireann was suspended for 48 hours last night to allow talks at the Labour Relations Commission to continue.
Pickets by members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) have been lifted and services have resumed with immediate effect.
In a statement, Minister for Public Transport Alan Kelly said he welcomed the breakthrough in the LRC negotiations.
“We would all like to see services resume as quickly as possible and that the 48 hour window that has been created as a result of discussion can yield a longer-term solution. This has been and continues to be a very difficult dispute for all sides,” he said. “The coming days can be used to make sure the company remains viable and that the transport services it provides are retained for the passengers that depend on them.”
The NBRU had said it would be prepared to lift the pickets as a precursor to ongoing talks so long as those negotiations appeared constructive.
The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) had called in both Bus Éireann management and unions, Siptu and the NBRU for talks at 8pm last night without preconditions as the strike was about to enter its third day.
Speaking beforehand, NBRU general secretary Michael Faherty said the strike could be halted if there was consensus and if negotiations on the ongoing dispute promised to be constructive.
“If there is agreement among all the parties that they are prepared to sit down to discuss in a constructive way the issues that are there, of course we will lift them,” he said. “What we hope for is that a basis can be found for resumption of constructive and proper negotiations.”
“It’s a very difficult situation that we are in. We have Labour Court recommendations that give us huge problems, turned down by 82 per cent of the membership, so to turn that around won’t be easy.”
“And we hope that for our customers' sake - we would like to apologise again - but we would hope that we would bring a speedily resolution to this dispute,” he said.
Tensions in the two day old dispute escalated earlier when striking bus workers refused to allow a bus operated by GoBe.ie to leave from Merchants Quay in Cork.
GoBe.ie operates non-stop buses between Dublin and Cork and is a joint venture between Bus Éireann and private company GoBe.
A Bus Éireann spokeswoman described the obstructions as “unwarranted and unjustified and caused inconvenience to our customers”.
GoBe.ie cancelled its 4.30pm and 6.30pm Cork to Dublin services and its 8pm, 10pm and midnight Dublin to Cork Services.
“We sincerely apologise for this change in service,however the safety of both our customers and drivers is paramount,” the company said on Twitter.