Monday 24 October 2016

Customers 'won't have to finance €30m pay hike for bus drivers'

Dublin buses parked up during the recent strike action
Dublin buses parked up during the recent strike action

Management at Dublin Bus are remaining tight-lipped over how they will fund the €30m pay rise won by drivers this week, but said customers won't be picking up the tab.

Throughout the dispute, the company repeatedly said it could not afford to pay the 15pc increase sought by drivers.

However, after marathon talks this week at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), management and unions representing staff settled on an 11.25pc rise over three years.

The compromise came after six days of strikes and was reached just in time to avoid travel chaos for today's All-Ireland football final replay.


A spokeswoman for Dublin Bus said the pay increase will be financed through "cost efficiencies" and cited "offsetting efficiency measures" including "lean management", "changes to scheduling processes" and "absenteeism programmes".

However, the "lean management" will not have any impact on staffing levels, according to the pay deal document, suggesting that no jobs will be shed.

Fares will not be increased as they are set by the National Transport Authority, Dublin Bus has said.

The pay deal also outlines a "first care system" that is designed to reduce absentee levels, but how the reliability of this will be measured was not outlined.

It also does not clarify how schedule changes will bring in additional cash.

Unions have insisted that they did not agree to extra productivity measures that would bring in extra revenue.

In fact, the pay deal document says that "productivity bargaining" talks with staff will take place on the possibility of more pay rises.

Sources claimed the company will be pushed to its limits and will have to finance the pay rise itself as there is nothing in the document to bring in extra funds. They said a plan to bring in a drugs and alcohol policy in the deal will cost money.

Unions will now ballot their members on the proposals.

Meanwhile, a damaging industrial dispute brewing on another front took a further twist yesterday when the Government warned rank and file gardai that a pay deal sought by them could halt recruitment of trainee officers.

Gardai announced four days of strike action to take place next month over a row about pay and conditions. The Herald understands that informal contact between the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Department of Justice took place yesterday.

However, there is unlikely to be any official interaction before the middle of next week at the earliest.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has warned that a "domino effect" must not be allowed to develop from the dispute.

"If we recognise in a different way the needs of one group, every other group then raises their level of need and has to respond back to the needs of their members and that's the reaction that we have to manage," he said.


Mr Donohoe added that the fund of money available to him also has to be used to improve public services.

"It has to be used to give me more resources to hire more nurses, hire more gardai, hire more teachers, all of which we've done over the last year and all of which we want to continue to do in the future," he said.

The Government has already effectively ruled out a pay deal for gardai.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: "It is not possible to do everything that one would wish to do. We simply don't have the resources."

Next month's industrial action will mark the first time that gardai have engaged in a withdrawal of labour.

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