No last minute resolution likely to avert bus strike – SIPTU
SIPTU has said there is little hope of a last minute resolution to the pay dispute which will see the first of three two-day strikes on Dublin Bus begin tomorrow.
The dispute arose after Dublin Bus unions rejected a Labour Court recommendation of a general 8.25% pay award for all its 3,364 employees over three years (or 2.75% per year) without productivity changes.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, SIPTU organiser John Murphy said: “I can’t see this being averted today.
“Our members made this decision nearly six weeks ago at this stage to reject the Labour Court recommendation.
“Within that six weeks we have had a one hour meeting with the employer.
“At this stage the members are frustrated, angry, the members are looking at what is happening in the economy, passenger numbers are growing but their pay has stagnated.”
Mr Murphy rejected suggestions that the dispute is about SIPTU and other union members wanting what Luas workers were awarded in their pay dispute settlement earlier this year.
Luas staff secured pay rises of 3.8% per year until 2020.
“I know the Luas is a headline figure but it is a different operation. It is simply a frustration over the last eight years in cuts that have been suffered by the employees.”
Dublin has said it is still willing to make the 8.25% pay increase recommended by the Labour Court and possibly more, but on certain terms.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Dublin Bus spokesperson Clíodhna Ní Fhátharta, said any increase on the offer would be productivity related.
“That offer of 8.25% is still on the table. The trade unions unfortunately have taken to reject that offer,” she said.
“We have said to them we simply don’t have the financial means to pay anything above and beyond that.
“What we are willing to do is pay that and sit down and look at paying something above and over what the Labour Court recommended.
“But that must be based on productivity as we don’t have the financial means.”
Mr Murphy, meanwhile, added there was no need for Dublin Bus to halt bus services early tonight before the union’s industrial action is due to begin.
Dublin Bus will stop services at 9pm tonight – three hours before the strike is due to commence.
The company wants to ensure the fleet is returned to all depots before midnight for health and safety reasons.
“We have a fleet of over 1000 buses and we have to ensure that each of those buses are returned safely and securely,” said Ms Ní Fhátharta
However, SIPTU and the National Bus and Rail Union have described the move as unnecessary.
As well as striking tomorrow and Friday, four further strike days are scheduled on 15, 16, 23 and 24 September.
Yesterday, the National Transport Authority has confirmed that Dublin Bus will face fines of €200,000 a day over the strike period.
Dublin Bus has estimated that apart from the fines, the strike will cost it around €600,000 a day, even after factoring in that it will not be paying staff.