Transport chaos as seven days of bus strikes planned
Public transport users in the capital could face further chaos as unions opposed to the privatisation of certain bus routes have added days to their threatened industrial action.
Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) are now planning to hold two 48-hour stoppages on May 1 and 2 as well as May 15 and 16.
The NBRU is also planning a further three-day strike on May 29, 30 and 31.
One of the strike days coincides with disruption of the rail service on the northside due to work to improve the line between Connolly and Howth/Malahide from May 2 to 4, leaving public transport options severely curtailed.
Both unions fear that if 10pc of the bus routes are opened up to the private sector, it could trigger deterioration of their members' pay and conditions.
Owen Reidy of Siptu said his members were "left with no alternative but to proceed with industrial action", claiming that management from both Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus had refused to meet with workers.
Bus Eireann said in a statement that it has "responded to every request to participate in the Labour Relations Commission (LRC)".
Both it and Dublin Bus last night urged the trade unions to reconsider their industrial action and return to talks.
Meanwhile, the NBRU has launched a High Court legal challenge to the proposed privatisation of bus routes by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The High Court heard that following the NTA's decision, contract notices inviting tenders for the routes were issued.
In correspondence with the union, lawyers for the NTA said it is entitled to make the decisions it made to invite tenders for the routes.
Award contracts are due to be made in April next year.
The NBRU says it has launched the action because of its concerns about the effects of privatising routes currently operated by the two state bus companies and fears that the decisions could lead to the demise of both Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann.
The NBRU, and one of its 3,000 members, Pauric Wall, who operates a route between Tullamore and Dublin for Bus Eireann, are seeking orders quashing three decisions by the NTA made last January 22 to subject certain routes to a tender process.
They also seek declarations, including that the NTA acted outside of its powers.
Permission to bring the action was granted, on an ex parte (one-side only represented) basis, by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan who made the matter returnable to June.