‘Drivers not for changing’ on Dublin Bus pay and work proposals

Mooted pay rises ‘far less than 15%’ in most cases, says NBRU chief Dermot O’Leary

Workers are likely to seek pay rises in line with those given in other branches of the public service. File photograph: The Irish Times

Workers are likely to seek pay rises in line with those given in other branches of the public service. File photograph: The Irish Times

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Dublin Bus drivers’ overwhelming rejection of a pay and work-practice deal means the proposal is “dead in the water”, officials from the group of unions said on Friday.

Siptu and National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) members at the State company voted by 97 per cent to reject a proposal offering pay rises in some cases approaching 15 per cent in return for changed work practices.

Siptu transport sector organiser John Murphy and NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Learywarned on Friday that the overwhelming rejection ended any prospect of such a deal being agreed.

Mr O’Leary noted that overwhelming rejection was a clear indication Dublin Bus’s proposals were dead in the water.

“Bus drivers are not for changing,” he said. Mr O’Leary added that the workers had been asked to choose between pay and work-life balance and had chosen the latter.

He also said the proposed pay rises were “far less than 15 per cent” in most cases.

Mr Murphy argued that the vote’s outcome ruled out agreement on the proposal or any variation of it. “There is no way they are going to change a 97 per cent rejection,” he said.

The deal was designed to pave a way for the Bus Connects scheme for public transport in Dublin.

Mr Murphy said that the vote would not prevent this from going ahead, as Dublin Bus was already implementing it with current work practices.

The first phase, focused on increasing services on the route from Howth on Dublin’s north side to the city centre, was launched in June.

The second phase, dubbed the “C spine” which involves services from Lucan to the city’s west, to the centre and Ringsend, on the capital’s south side, is due to go ahead in late October.

Driver concerns

Drivers were unhappy with proposed work-practice changes sought in return for pay rises that would have meant those at the top of their scale earning €51,500 a year excluding bonuses.

Part of the plan required workers assigned to one or two particular routes to drive various services operated from the garages at which they are based.

Others were concerned that the proposals could increase the amount of time they spend driving within their 39-hour week.

Separately, the unions have a pay claim with Dublin Bus that dates back to late 2019. The sides are due to begin talks on this shortly.

Workers are likely to seek pay rises in line with those given in other branches of the public service.

The Department of Transport said that it would not be appropriate for the Minister, Eamon Ryan, to intervene as pay talks were a matter for the company, workers and unions.

A statement noted that the National Transport Authority continued to make progress with the Bus Connects programme.

“It is a key part of the Government’s policy to improve public transport and address climate change in Dublin and other cities across Ireland, ” said the department.

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