Bus Éireann and unions make breakthrough in roster talks

Company and unions agree to let previous recommendation come into force

Bus Éireann is seeking cost-reduction measures in an attempt to tackle losses of some €9.4 million annually. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Bus Éireann is seeking cost-reduction measures in an attempt to tackle losses of some €9.4 million annually. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

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There has been a breakthrough in talks on the implementation of new work rosters between Bus Éireann unions and management.

Negotiations concerning the proposed rosters - which the company say are essential cost-saving measures - got under way at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Monday.

Parties came to an agreement on Monday evening after both sides welcomed a second clarification document issued by the WRC.

The company and unions agreed to allow a previous recommendation on rostering by the Labour Court to come into force on December 3rd.

A spokeswoman for Bus Éireann said the clarification document “will ensure cost savings can be achieved to address the company finances in line with our business plan”.

Bus Éireann is seeking cost-reduction measures in an attempt to tackle losses of some €9.4 million annually. The company said failure to adopt cost-cutting measures places it at risk of insolvency.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) also welcomed the agreement and will use the National Transport Forum “to deal with the underlying policy issues that caused the crisis at Bus Éireann,” a spokesman said.

Prior to the talks, Bus Éireann had indicated it would introduce altered rosters for staff in many parts of the country from Sunday.

Trade union Siptu argued this would breach a Labour Court recommendation advanced last April to bring to an end to a three-week strike at the company.

Siptu and the NBRU warned they would ballot for industrial action across the State if the company proceeded with the plans to introduce the new rosters.

Siptu said in a letter to the company that driver representatives in Galway, Drogheda (Louth), Broadstone (Dublin), Tralee, Cork and Sligo have been given rosters that are unacceptable to the drivers. The union said it was abundantly clear that plans to implement new rosters would be resisted.

The company has nominated three occasions in recent weeks for the introduction of the new arrangements, but these were deferred in favour of talks with the unions under the auspices of the WRC.

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