herald

Saturday 1 October 2016

Fears bus strike could cost up to €3m

TRANSPORT

Dublin Bus services will be affected by the dispute
Dublin Bus services will be affected by the dispute
Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin city business improvement district

Retailers have called on unions representing bus drivers to "re-engage" in talks over the planned privatisation of 10pc of routes, as it is estimated that one day of industrial action could cost up to €3m.

Bodies representing retailers in the capital last night warned that the proposed day of industrial action on May 1 against the Government proposal could have a negative impact upon the city's businesses ahead of the busy bank holiday weekend.

Richard Guiney, CEO of Dublin Town, said recent research indicated that as many as "42pc of people" use the bus to reach the city centre to do shopping and spend an average of €63 each.

reduction

"So on that basis, and on the assumption that roughly half the people travelling on the bus won't come in at all, we are probably looking at a reduction in spending in the region of €2.5m to €3m," he said.

"If the bus isn't available, a number will obviously choose to not make the trip, so it is obviously a matter of serious concern for us.

"The withdrawal of an important service like the bus, is obviously a very serious move and it would be detrimental for the city."

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) recently announced they are planning a day of action on May 1, International Workers' Day.

This will include a two-hour work stoppage between 11am and 1pm on the day, as drivers from the union in both Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus participate in nationwide marches.

However, senior sources have indicated this may escalate to a full day of strike action.

Siptu, which also received a mandate for industrial action from their members in both State-owned companies, said they will consider "substantial industrial action" if their concerns are not "adequately addressed at meetings with other stakeholders" by April 24.

This row stems from the unions' withdrawal from talks with the Government, the National Transport Authority and both companies at the Labour Relations Commission last month.

The Government has renewed their commitment to opening up 10pc of the routes to public tender, reminding both companies they are invited to compete.

Dermot O'Leary, the general secretary of the NBRU, said their main concerns are in relation to job security and employees terms and conditions.

difficulty

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe yesterday said that he would ensure that employees terms and conditions would be maintained, adding that it was "a real pity that commuters will be facing disruption and difficulty on the day".

Mr Donohoe said he is "open to anything that we can do now in the intervening period to deal with this matter".

Mr O'Leary, of the NBRU, said the union doesn't want to "damage anybody".

Both Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus last night said they remain available and involved in the discussions.

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