Cost-saving proposals ‘sad reflection’ on Bus Éireann management

Union accuses the Department of Transport of ‘abdicating’ its responsibility

Proposals to introduce a ban on staff overtime and to eliminate the carry-over of annual leave are a “sad reflection” on Bus Éireann management, a union has said.

Proposals to introduce a ban on staff overtime and to eliminate the carry-over of annual leave are a “sad reflection” on Bus Éireann management, a union has said.

 

Proposals to introduce a ban on staff overtime and to eliminate the carry-over of annual leave are a “sad reflection” on Bus Éireann management, a union has said.

Responding to Saturday’s Irish Times report that the company is to pursue radical measures aimed at generating savings of up to € 8 million, National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) general secretary Dermot O’Leary said cuts to overtime may prove counter-productive as a cost-saving measure.

“It would seem that this statement, along with the leaking of the Grant Thornton report [on Bus Éireann’s financial situation] earlier this week is geared towards conditioning staff into accepting cuts to terms and conditions,” he said.

Mr O’Leary continued: “Turning the spotlight on staff is a sad reflection on the new management structure at the company and demonstrates quite clearly for us that they are being puppeteered into providing an escape route for the shareholder whose responsibility it is to provide and support essential transport links for all of the citizens of the State.”

“Cutting overtime will have a direct impact on the ability of Bus Éireann to operate all of its services and may end up being counter-productive in that it may result in the NTA (National Transport Authority) imposing sanctions and withdrawing some of the public service obligation funding it is contractually obliged to provide in order to support vital bus services all over Ireland. ”

Bus Éireann is also expected to implement a ban on recruitment and prohibitions will be put in place on chartering buses from outside companies.

It follows coverage of the Grant Thornton review from earlier this week, in which it was revealed that closing down the State-owned company’s Expressway service may be the only viable way to save it from financial abyss.

Bus drivers’ unions have already stated their opposition to the idea of winding down Expressway, which could result in the loss of over 500 jobs.

It was also reported that Minister for Transport Shane Ross held discussions with the NTA on Friday with a view to potentially providing alternative services for passengers if Bus Éireann is unable to maintain its current timetable due to financial constraints.

In his statement, NBRU general secretary O’Leary accused the Department of Transport of seeking to “abdicate” its responsibilities towards Bus Éireann.

“It would also lend credence to our view that the focus on cutting staff entitlements is being advanced in order to allow the Department of Transport to abdicate its responsibility towards a State-owned company,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Minister for Transport yesterday said he wanted to reassure people in rural Ireland that they would not be left without services following any restructuring of Bus Éireann.

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