Fresh talks at LRC as bus workers set for two more days of industrial action
UNION chiefs have vowed to press ahead with two further days of bus strikes unless a series of commitments are given around the areas of employment and the potential for further privatisation of bus routes.
The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) will today launch a second bid aimed at averting this weekend's planned strike action by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann workers.
The two firms claimed similar action over the May Bank Holiday weekend resulted in serious financial loss.
Legal action has been taken against both SIPTU and the National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) in a bid to prevent further strikes.
The next phase of industrial action is scheduled for Friday and Saturday in a move that will cause chaos for thousands of travellers.
The row centres around the decision to put 10pc of routes out for tender.
The proposals by the National Transport Authority (NTA) would see several Dublin Bus routes put up for tender, as well as commuter services from Dublin to Tullamore, Portlaoise and Kildare. The plans also propose the tendering of routes in Waterford City.
The Government has said the measures will result in improved services and ultimately save the taxpayer money.
However, the unions insist the move will open the door for a campaign of privatisation, put jobs at risk and result in a deterioration of workers' conditions.
Union sources have insisted the strike action will go ahead as planned unless "substantial guarantees" are given in the area of employment, as well as a commitment to address fears of further privatisation of bus routes in the future.
But in its latest bid to broker a deal, the LRC will today stage fresh talks. General Secretary of the National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU) Dermot O'Leary said there is a myriad of issues that the union wants addressed.
Central to his concern is the prospect of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann losing further routes in 2019, when current contracts expire. "The NBRU are on record as highlighting our concern in relation to the public bus companies exposure to potentially losing all of their routes in 2019," he said.
SIPTU organiser Owen Reidy said his union has put forward a six-point plan which he said acts as an ideal compromise.
Mr Reidy said the union believes the plan must be accepted in its entirety.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said the Government will provide assistance to the talks if required.