Bus Éireann to discuss imposition of cuts that may trigger strike

Cuts expected to include curtailment of leasing deals and cessation of certain routes

Siptu’s Willie Noone and David Lane: becoming clear an indefinite strike by Bus Éireann workers will soon be unavoidable.  Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Siptu’s Willie Noone and David Lane: becoming clear an indefinite strike by Bus Éireann workers will soon be unavoidable. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Proposals to be tabled by Bus Éireann today to deal with the company’s financial crisis are expected to largely focus on efficiencies, roster changes and work practice reforms.

Unions have warned of an indefinite all-out strike if the company moves to impose the €12 million worth of savings on payroll costs it proposed in recent weeks.

Management at Bus Éireann say the company’s finances remain in a precarious position, and the company will become insolvent by May if €12 million worth of savings on payroll costs are not introduced.

The board of Bus Éireann will meet at noon and it is expected a letter will be sent to staff in the afternoon on how it wants to make the savings which it says are necessary for the State company to survive.

Unions were particularly concerned at proposals to reduce overtime rates, cut premium payments and eliminate shift allowances.

However, it is understood the company may now be prepared to focus initially on securing efficiencies and work practice changes to try to deliver the required savings. This could create a window of opportunity to allow for further talks between unions and management on finding an overall resolution to the crisis at Bus Éireann.

Some sources noted the company made 66 specific proposals for reform in a document tabled at the Workplace Relations Commission last week and did not merely concentrate on cuts to staff payments.

Sources suggested the company may not just seek “to take a sledgehammer to staff earnings” and could instead put forward proposals which would place the ball back into the court of the trade unions.

However it remains to be seen whether the new proposals will cause or head off a potential lengthy dispute at the company.

Unions had contended that workers’ earnings could fall by up to 30 per cent under the original management proposals. They warned of a protracted strike if the company imposed cuts to staff earnings.

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