Unions reject proposals to end bus dispute

Ballot results increase risk of strike disruption for Dublin Bus passengers


Staff belonging to the two largest unions at Dublin Bus have rejected Labour Court proposals aimed at settling the dispute which caused a bus strike earlier this month.

Members of the NBRU, the National Bus and Rail Union, rejected the proposals by a majority of two to one, while 72 per cent of drivers represented by Siptu voted against them.

The ballot results do not automatically mean that the strike which disrupted services for three days will resume. However, it creates uncertainty for the 400,000 passengers who use Dublin Bus services daily.

The strike at the company was triggered at the start of this month when management unilaterally implemented cost-saving measures set out in an earlier Labour Court recommendation which had been rejected by staff following more than a year of talks.

The strike was suspended by the unions to facilitate a further intervention by the Labour Court. The deferral took place after Dublin Bus agreed to put on hold the implementation of the cost-saving measures.

Following the rejection last night of the second set of proposals put forward by the Labour Court, the key question will be whether management at Dublin Bus will now seek to press ahead once again with the implementation of the cost saving measures.

The measures, which include cuts to overtime, increases in the working week and reductions in leave – but not cuts to core pay except for management grades – are designed to generate savings of almost €12 million. Dublin Bus has argued that these savings are vital if it is to return to profitability.

Dublin Bus last night said it was disappointed at the decision by Siptu and the NBRU but would await the outcome of the ballots by other smaller unions at the company before commenting further on what action it might take.

Siptu and the NBRU together represent more than 2,000 staff – well over half of the total workforce.

Assistant general secretary of the NBRU Dermot O’Leary said the union would now reflect on the vote and engage in a consultation process with its members.

Siptu last night said its members were frustrated that they were being asked again to provide a public transport service while the Government subvention was continuing to be reduced.