Bus Éireann claims no progress on savings plan


Bus Éireann has said trade unions have been unwilling to engage on key elements of its financial recovery plan, including premium rates and shift and rota payments.

The company also said yesterday that its commitment earlier in the year not to seek cuts to core pay or introduce redundancies was dependent on its plan being implemented.

It said the unions did not want to discuss through the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) “the substantive issues that will deliver the biggest savings under the plan”. It said it now had no option but to refer all of its proposed business recovery plan for a full hearing of the Labour Court.

A spokesman for Bus Éireann said last night: “We said in June and have repeatedly stated since then that failure to agree to this plan will leave the company facing potential annual losses of €16 million. This level of potential losses must be addressed in order to protect services and jobs, and ensure the company can continue to invest in providing a quality service.”

Immediate plans

“We also made it clear in June that while we didn’t have any immediate plans to reduce basic wages or for redundancies, this was dependent on successful completion of the plan.”

A confidential document drawn up by the company said that if the savings and changes were not agreed and implemented speedily then the company would have to reconsider its position and look at means of achieving savings.

In a letter to unions and to the LRC last Friday Bus Éireann said it had a five-year plan which included a range of measures to increase revenue and reduce costs.

“The plan involves revised services, particularly on expressway (intercity) routes, on-going operational efficiencies, increased use of technology and changes to terms and conditions of employment. The majority of these changes have been delivered but the cost reductions in respect of payroll have remained outstanding.”

Direct meetings

“It is regrettable that despite numerous direct meetings at local level and several conciliation conferences at the LRC, no appreciable progress has been made.

The cost-saving plans include cuts in overtime rates and increased working hours.

The general secretary of the NBRU, Michael Faherty, said the company had not engaged in any meaningful talks at local level and this delayed matters when the process went to the Labour Relations Commission as basic issues had to be addressed.

He said in the normal course of events if there was no agreement in direct talks or at the Labour Relations Commission the union would go to the Labour Court. However, he said it would not do so on the company’s terms.