herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Bus strikes 'still on' but talks start today

"Across the board, Saturday was a big hit and now retailers are getting worried," said the chamber's Graeme McQueen. (pictured)

Unions and Dublin Bus management are to hold exploratory talks aimed at averting further strikes.

Members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) have agreed to attend the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) today following an open invitation to all parties involved.

The WRC intervened in the dispute yesterday and asked unions and management to attend talks aimed at resolving the dispute over a 15pc pay rise sought by workers.

Dublin Bus and Siptu told the Herald they had accepted the invite without preconditions.

It is the first time all parties will sit down together since talks broke down ahead of the first strikes.

Siptu's Owen Reidy said there was hope that the work stoppages scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday could be cancelled "based on progress" at today's meeting.

However, the NBRU said any decision about postponing industrial action would only be considered if Dublin Bus was serious about seeking a resolution to the dispute.

"While the request to attend talks without preconditions is something the trade unions have long been calling for, the fact is that our members are extremely angry that the in- action to date by the company and the Department of Transport has caused severe disruption to commuters and staff alike," said NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary.

Meanwhile, Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) said sales plunged by up to 60pc on Saturday when bus drivers withdrew their labour.

Worried

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said there are fears that if further strikes go ahead they could result in job losses.

"Across the board, Saturday was a big hit and now retailers are getting worried," said the chamber's Graeme McQueen.

"The more uncertainty, the more difficult it is to plan, and with Christmas fast approaching they'll have to start looking at reducing staffing hours."

The festive season is a "crucial" time for retailers, and any loss will put them well behind for the whole year, said Mr McQueen

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