Bus Éireann strike planned for Monday is deferred
Talks to begin but union says members remain on ‘war footing’ should company implement reforms
A planned strike by Bus Éirean staff planned for Monday has been deferred.
A planned all-out strike at Bus Éireann which was scheduled to commence on Monday has been suspended to allow for new talks between the company and trade unions.
Bus Éireann said that to facilitate meaningful dialogue with trade unions, it would defer the implementation of planned work practice reforms and efficiency measures.
The company had planned to put in place 55 proposed changes from Monday as part of a survival plan for the company.
Unions said the implementation of such measures would trigger an all-out indefinite strike.
Bus Éireann said, however,that while it was putting off the implementaiton of the work practice reforms, its financial position remained critical.
The company said again that it was facing insolvency in May.
Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) both said they would accept the invitation to the new talks process at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Monday and had suspended their planned strike.
Siptu sector organiser Willie Noone, said: “It has always been apparent that the expertise of the WRC will be required to deal with the serious and complex issues in this dispute. In deference to a request by the WRC the scheduled strike action by SIPTU members in Bus Éireann, which was due to commence on Monday, has been suspended.
“Siptu representatives will continue to play their part in trying to avert a national public transport dispute but we rely on the management of Bus Éireann making genuine efforts to reach a resolution.”
The general secretary of the NBRU Dermot O’Leary said: “Notwithstanding the fact that we firmly believe that the current crisis at (Bus Éireann’s commercial arm) Expressway has resulted from flawed Government policy, we have always said that we are prepared to assist towards finding a resolution and would discuss issues other than those that directly impact on core rates of pay, inclusive of basic, overtime, premium, shift or rota rates.”
“Whilst we have today informed the WRC that we will accept the invitation to attend at facilitated discussions on Monday next to discuss the €9 million losses at Expressway, we remain firmly of the view that an overall resolution to this dispute can only be achieved by all of the stakeholders being party to an overarching agreement.”
He said the NBRU would be informing Bus Eireann that the NBRU “will not allow our willingness to assist in trying to resolve this crisis, to be used as a fig leaf behind which those with political responsibility can hide, from the disgraceful decesion to close vital routes from Clonmel to Dublin, Athlone to Westport and Dublin to Derry.”
However he said NBRU members remained on a “war footing” and would be prepared to engage in an immediate all-out strike “should the company plough ahead with its Irish Ferries- style attack on bus workers moderate terms and conditions.”