Dublin Bus drivers reject deal on pay rise and work practice changes

Overwhelming majority of 1,700 workers vote against proposal recommended by unions

More than 90 per cent of Dublin Bus drivers have rejected a deal on work practice changes that included pay rises of almost 15 per cent in some cases.

The State public transport company’s 1,700 drivers voted on Thursday on a deal backed by Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) that offered pay hikes approaching 15 per cent in return for work practice changes.

Drivers overwhelmingly rejected the deal, with more than 90 per cent voting against the proposals, it emerged after the ballot was counted on Thursday night.

Reacting to the news, Dublin Bus said it noted the result of the drivers’ ballot on the deal. “The company will now consider this result,” it added.


Neither Siptu nor the NBRU commented. It is understood that they will issue a joint statement on Friday.

The result throws a question mark over the company’s Bus Connects plan, designed to streamline public transport in the capital.

While the deal allowed for pay rises of almost 15 per cent in some cases, drivers were known to be unhappy with proposed work-practice changes sought in return.

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

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

Last month a Siptu-NBRU statement recommending the deal to members, acknowledged that the unions did not like elements of the plan, but pointed out that they had secured pay rises and improved bonuses.

Plan details

The plan, meant to run until 2025, proposed a composite pay rate of €23.50 an-hour from October, equal to about €916 for a 39-hour week.

This incorporated shift and premium payments for drivers with a five-over-seven-day contract, meaning they would work two Sundays out of every five.

Unions maintained that would result in drivers at the top of their scale earning €51,500 per year, excluding bonuses.

The attendance bonus scheme would have doubled to €500 tax free, while the save driving bonus would have increased to €575 tax free, from €250.

Drivers with a longer service of more than 20 years would have received extra annual leave.

Two weeks leave, rather than three, would have been allocated in the summer with another week taken in the spring or winter.

Dublin Bus had pledged to increase the number of uncertified sick days a year to five from four.

Bus Connects is also intended to boost the State company’s ability to compete with rivals before its contract with the National Transport Authority expires in 2024. This could lead to additional routes being put out to tender to competitors.

Unions warned that Dublin Bus’s ability to compete could be “severely diminished, if not holed below the water line” without changes to the way it operated.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas