Relief for commuters as two days of bus strikes are averted at 11th hour
Commuter chaos has been averted as the bus drivers’ strike planned for the next two days has been called off.
Eleventh hour talks at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) saw a deal struck shortly after 4am.
Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and city businesses lost millions in the two-day strike at the start of the month.
It was feared that the further industrial action planned by unions Siptu and the NBRU would incur further costs and another nightmare for bus users travelling to work and school.
This morning LRC chief
Kieran Mulvey said that all parties agreed to resolve the dispute which he said had been “particularly complex”.
The row was over what unions claimed is the privatisation of 10pc of bus routes.
The Government denies that the tendering to the routes is privatisation, pointing out that the bus companies can also
apply to win the contracts.
Under the terms of the LRC deal:
l No current bus drivers will have to transfer to a new route operator.
l Staff who agree to transfer will do so under their existing terms and conditions.
l Labour costs will not be the “sole criteria” for choosing the “most economically advantageous tender”.
l Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe indicated that it is not the intention to tender the remaining 90pc of routes.
He welcomed the agreement, saying that it averted a strike that would have seen “immense damage to commuters, to the [bus] companies and to the employees”.
Speaking on RTE radio he said the tendering process will continue but that “I have also committed to discussing with unions in the future concerns that they may have in relation to implementation of that policy”.
The unions had planned five more days of industrial action.
NBRU boss Dermot O’Leary said the LRC deal “enabled us to call off the strikes”.
Siptu’s Owen Reidy said they have taken the decision to “defer” the planned days of strike action.
“We have a four-week window now to deal with all of the industrial relation issues resulting from this,” he said.
Mr Reidy said Siptu “would hope” they don’t have to take industrial action again.
“If everybody honours their obligations and if everybody works collectively in a progressive way that shouldn’t happen,” he said.