Dublin Bus worker will spend 55th birthday on picket line

Siptu member and clerical worker Ann Ryan says of strike: ‘It is sad it has come to this’

A member of Siptu, Ann Ryan works in the clerical, health and safety section of Dublin Bus, her husband Tom is an engineering operative with the firm and one of their two sons works in its “meet and greet” commercial section. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

A member of Siptu, Ann Ryan works in the clerical, health and safety section of Dublin Bus, her husband Tom is an engineering operative with the firm and one of their two sons works in its “meet and greet” commercial section. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Ann Ryan is part of what she describes as a “Dublin Bus family” and will spend her 55th birthday on the picket line on Friday.

A member of Siptu, she works in the clerical, health and safety section of Dublin Bus, her husband Tom is an engineering operative with the firm and one of their two sons works in its “meet and greet” commercial section.

Their other son has just started a college course.

Ann has worked 35 years with Dublin Bus, earns about €49,000 annually and has what she describes as a “Rolls Royce” pension.

She stresses she is at the top end of the clerical workers’ pay scale, while the average pay for most clerical staff is between €27-28,000. Her husband earns about €30,000 annually.

She considers Dublin Bus a good employer, but is totally supportive of the strike over failure to increase wages since 2008. She is particularly concerned at proposals which will reduce her pension entitlements, as she will not get the State pension.

Her son working with Dublin Bus and his girlfriend both live with Ann and Tom in Dublin. She says they are working hard and saving for a mortgage but it is “a struggle” for them.

Similar experience

Their experience is similar to many of the younger workers in Dublin Bus who, she says, are even more supportive of strike action than the older employees.

“My pay has been stagnant since 2008 with no increments. For younger people in clerical grades, they get poor wages and it’s nearly impossible to save for a mortgage if paying rent.

“I feel most sorry for the young people, they are struggling on their wages, trying to save and costs just keep going up. Car insurance is a big problem, it won’t come down and just keeps going up and up.”

The proposed 8.2 per cent pay increase over three years is too low, with all the additional bills coming in since, she says. “We were promised in 2008 we would get pay rises when Dublin Bus came into profitability - and it did in 2014.”

Noting that Dublin Bus says its hands are tied because of the 24 per cent cut in its subsidy, she says the European norm for state subsidies is 50 per cent. “Fares went up twice in last few years and no one has seen any benefits.”

Dublin Bus are a good company, she believes. “It is sad it has come down to this.”