herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Bus drivers to vote over strike action

SIPTU's Owen Reidy
SIPTU's Owen Reidy

The nation's bus drivers are to vote on industrial action after privatisation talks broke down between unions and the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Representatives for Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann had been in talks with the NTA regarding plans to privatise 10pc of all bus routes.

However, SIPTU and the National Bus and Rail (NBRU) workers Union withdrew from discussions on Monday, and will now ballot their respective members for strike action.

Unions have cited a lack of assurances as well as a threat by the NTA surrounding the privatisation talks as the reasons for walking away from negotiations.

The NBRU is also expected to initiate High Court proceedings aimed at blocking plans for the potential privatisation of routes currently operated by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann.

"The talks, between representatives of the transport unions, the National Transport Authority (NTA), CIE and the Department of Transport, broke down today following a threat by the NTA to implement the privatisation of routes without agreement with unions," SIPTU organiser Owen Reidy said.

Mr Reidy added that while SIPTU "oppose any privatisation of public bus routes", if the process is going to be implemented then there must be an agreement on "what impact it will have on workers".

Willie Noone from SIPTU said that talks had been going on between the NTA and the union for several months, and that a number of questions had been put to the NTA in relation to their members' concerns.

Mr Noone added that the NTA responded to these questions in a "completely unsatisfactory manner", failing to indicate how key issues such as the transfer of undertakings and legacy costs will be dealt with if routes are privatised.

hnews@herald.ie

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