Bus Éireann facing strike if €30m cost-saving plan pursued

Trade unions indicate opposition to creation of ‘low-wage public transport provider’

A strike at Bus Éireann which was due to commence next Monday was suspended by unions earlier this week. Photograph: The Irish Times

A strike at Bus Éireann which was due to commence next Monday was suspended by unions earlier this week. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Trade unions have warned that a planned strike at Bus Éireann will be reactivated if management at the company seeks to make cuts of €30 million in costs as previously announced.

After the first day of talks aimed at finding a resolution to the financial crisis at the State-owned bus company, the five unions representing the 2,600 staff at Bus Éireann said they remained “implacably opposed to any cuts to our members’ pay, terms and condition”.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said on Friday that it suspected the €30 million in savings may be about positioning Bus Éireann to face competition in the event more of its routes being put out to tender in the future.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said the cost -saving exercise at Bus Éireann may not be about dealing with financial pressures being faced by its commercial Expressway service.

Siptu sector organiser Willie Noone said: “We took the opportunity in the first engagement with Bus Éireann since it proposed savage pay cuts to outline that our members will not facilitate the creation of a low-wage, low- service, public transport provider.”

Siptu said management at Bus Éireann “must clarify at the earliest opportunity whether drivers who are employed as school bus drivers and not currently involved in this dispute are also threatened with losing their livelihoods if progress is not made in these talks”.

Zero-hour contracts

Mr Noone said the union would “no longer allow our members in Bus Éireann to continue to provide public transport services if the only way to provide those services is to introduce zero-hour contracts and to roll back decades of trade union endeavour to maintain and improve employment standards”.

A strike at Bus Éireann which was due to commence next Monday was suspended by unions earlier this week after management withdrew plans to unilaterally cut staff earnings under a controversial survival plan.

The moves on the part of management and unions were aimed at facilitating three days of intensive talks which are being brokered by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Siptu said after the talks on Friday that it would “continue to engage with the company within the parameters which have been outlined”.

A separate joint statement by the five trade unions at the company, including Siptu, said while they would continue in discussions, “ we remain implacably opposed to any cuts to our members pay, terms and condition’s and we remain resolute in relation to reactivating our strike action should Bus Éireann continue to push its stated aim of reducing costs to the tune of €30 million”