Dublin Bus staff want the same pay rise as Luas drivers

Luas drivers to get 18.7% rise over three years as St Patrick’s Day strike action cancelled

Drivers at Dublin Bus are to seek pay increases matching the 18.7 per cent rise secured by Luas staff yesterday.

A threatened strike scheduled for St Patrick's Day was called off yesterday following lengthy talks at the Workplace Relations Commission between Siptu, which represents Luas staff, and Transdev, the company that operates the system.

Luas drivers are to receive the increases over a period of just under three years in a proposed deal aimed at resolving a protracted dispute at the Dublin light rail system.

Revenue protection staff are expected to receive about 14.7 per cent under the new proposals.


The National Bus and Railworkers’ Union said it would be seeking the same level of increases for its members at Dublin Bus as those secured by the Luas staff. It said this would be in addition to its existing pay claim for Dublin Bus personnel.

It had already indicated it would be looking for rises of between 6 and 13 per cent for Dublin Bus staff. The Labour Court is to hold a hearing on pay at Dublin Bus next week.

The union’s general secretary Dermot O’Leary said Dublin Bus can afford to meet the pay claim being made by the union for its members.

“It’s been eight years since our members had an increase. When Dublin Bus approached staff when times were rough and asked for our co-operation, we gave it,” he said.

Ballots to be held

Proposals drawn up at the Workplace Relations Commission for dealing with the Luas dispute are to be considered by three grades of staff – drivers, revenue protection officers and revenue protection supervisors – in ballots to be held next week.

Agreement was not reached in relation to a fourth grade – traffic supervisors – and further talks are to be held between the union and management. It is understood there was disagreement over demands that some of the increase for this grade should be front-loaded.

Siptu said if the proposals were accepted by staff, the dispute would be over but warned it was likely to escalate if they were rejected. Under the proposals, the maximum pay rate for drivers after nine years is to be increased from €42,900 to €50,000.

Productivity measures

If the deal is accepted, drivers will receive a 2 per cent pay rise straight away as well as a further increase next January. They would receive a 3 per cent pay rise in January 2018 and a similar increase in January 2019.

There will be some productivity measures attached to the proposed new increases.

Further talks are to take place over the staff bonus payment for this year which the company scrapped following the decision by drivers to undertake industrial action.

"We have made substantial progress with many of the grades," said Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy. "We have reached conclusive discussions with three of the grades . . . and we have reached a place with the drivers where, at this moment in time, the proposal from the Workplace Relations Commission is in [commission's] view, the best that can be achieved by negotiations at this moment in time."

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden said he was delighted light rail services would be running on St Patrick’s Day.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said the operation of Luas services for St Patrick's Day would be welcomed by commuters, tourists and businesses across the city.

“Substantial progress has been reported. Obviously this has been achieved inside the terms of current contract with no additional cost to the taxpayer,” he said.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent