Ross says it would inappropriate to intervene in worsening bus dispute

Passengers face 13 more days of strikes in weeks ahead

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said it would be inappropriate for him to intervene directly in the dispute at Dublin Bus, which escalated dramatically yesterday.

Dublin Bus passengers are facing two or three 24-hour strikes each week until the end of October under plans outlined yesterday by trade unions. There will again be no Dublin Bus services operating today, while a further 48-hour stoppage had previously been scheduled for Friday and Saturday of next week.

However, in a major escalation of the dispute, unions yesterday served notice on the company of 13 additional strike days in the weeks ahead.

Unions will meet again in mid-October and have warned that further strikes could be announced at that point.


Strike details

The latest strikes announced will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 27th and 28th; Saturday, October 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 yesterday, the Department of Transport said the Minister was “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”.

The Department of Transport said the Minister urged management and unions at Dublin Bus “to engage with each other immediately”.

Ongoing action

Dublin Bus said the ongoing industrial action was “unnecessary and unjustified”. It said strikes had so far cost it more than €4 million.

Siptu's Owen Reidy said that, even after three days of strikes, it seemed "the management of Dublin Bus and the Department of Transport have little interest in resolving the outstanding issues".

"Our members are disappointed that the only response so far from the CEO 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."

He said all parties should “commit to a serious negotiation process”.

The general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union, Dermot O'Leary, said it was "unfortunate that Dublin Bus and those responsible for providing a public transport service for the citizens of Dublin will not engage".

Willie Quigley, of Unite trade union, said public transport was a public good "and must be funded accordingly ".

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

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