Dublin Bus passengers will face 13 further days without services in the weeks ahead on foot of a dramatic escalation in the current pay dispute.
Unions are planning to stage a further 48-hour stoppage this Tuesday and Wednesday, September 27th/28th, as well as 11 days of strikes in October.
The stoppages scheduled for October will be on Saturday 1st, Wednesday 5th, Friday 7th, Monday 10th, Wednesday 12th, Friday 14th, Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th, Monday 24th, Wednesday 26th and Saturday 29th.
In a statement, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said he "greatly regrets the grave inconvenience caused to the travelling public by this ongoing dispute".
The statement from Mr Ross’s department said: “He is acutely aware of calls for him to directly intervene but must reiterate, that as any Ministerial intervention could be interpreted as a commitment to open the State chequebook, it would be inappropriate for him to do so.
“He again calls on Management and the Unions to engage with each other immediately,”
On Wednesday, trade unions representing drivers strongly criticised what they described as the silence of the Mr Ross, Dublin Bus management and the Department of Transport in relation to resolving the dispute.
Siptu organiser John Murphy said the "complete intransigence shown" by the three parties in response to the need of his members for an acceptable pay rise had created "real anger and frustration", and strengthened the resolve of striking workers.
On Thursday, Siptu transport, energy, aviation and construction division organiser, Owen Reidy, said: "Our members are disappointed that the only response so far from the chief executive of Dublin Bus to this dispute has been to call for talks at the Workplace Relations Commission to discuss a Labour Court recommendation that has already been rejected by over 90 per cent of our members. It is not a genuine attempt to find an agreed resolution to this dispute."
He said what was needed to resolve the dispute was for all sides to commit to
a serious negotiation process and to display fresh thinking concerning the funding of Dublin’s public bus system.
“Workers are no longer prepared to be a soft touch whose pay is suppressed to subsidise a declining state subvention.”
About 400,000 Dublin Bus passengers are facing travel disruption on Thursday and Friday this week as a result of the latest strikes at the company.
In a statement, Dublin Bus apologised to customers. It said the ongoing industrial action was costing it more than €600,000 a day and was limiting its ability to pay even the 8.25 per cent increase over three years recommended by the Labour Court, but rejected by workers.