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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 24 September, 2014

Bus Eireann to cut some payments after unions reject Labour Court hearing

The company has said that it is to cut overtime, shift, premium and rota payments after trade unions rejected the offer, it said today.

Image: Photocall Ireland

BUS EIREANN HAS said it could face annual losses of €16m if there isn’t an agreement on its cost-saving plan.

The company said that it intends to change staff terms and conditions from 13 January 2013, cutting overtime, shift, premium and rota payments as well as annual leave.

Clerical and executive employees will also have a longer working week. The company says this is due to trade unions rejecting offers made by the company of a Labour Court hearing.

Business recovery plan

Bus Éireann announced its business recovery plan in June. Since then it has engaged in talks with unions via the Labour Relations Comission but said trade unions “made it clear they didn’t want to negotiate” on certain issues.

It said that in recent days they have also decided not to participate in a Labour Court hearing requested by Bus Éireann. Bus Éireann has said that failure to agree to the plan will leave them facing potential annual losses of €16m.

A spokesperson for Bus Éireann said today:

As it is imperative that the company make the required savings there is now no option but to implement changes to employees’ terms and conditions. It is regrettable that these steps have to be taken, however they are necessary in order to protect basic pay and jobs.

The company also made it clear in June that while it didn’t have any immediate plans to reduce basic wages or for redundancies, this was dependent on successful completion of the plan.

Changes

The changes to employee terms and conditions from 13 January 2013 include:

  • Reduction of overtime rates from 1.5 times to 1.25 times
  • Increase in working week for clerical and executive staff from 36 hours to 39 hours
  • Reduction in shift, premium and rota payments. (If the company’s financial situation improves significantly the reduction in shift will be reviewed in 2014 with a view to restoring shift rates to their current levels)
  • Reduction in annual leave entitlement by 3 days for three years (2013, 2014, 2015)
  • A range of allowance and expense payments will be reduced by 33.3 per cent

Bus Éireann said a number of factors, including a 20 per cent fall in customer numbers in the last number of years, new entrants into the market, increased fuel costs, and a reduction in State funding, have led to their current financial situation.

In order to tackle this situation, the company’s five year plan includes a range of measures to increase revenue and reduce costs through a combination of enhanced services, particularly on Expressway (inter-city) routes, on-going operational efficiencies, increased use of technology, and changes to employees’ terms and conditions. The plan seeks to achieve annual cost savings of €20m.

Bus Éireann said that “in what has been a difficult year, [it] would like to pay tribute to all its employees for their commitment, hard work and professionalism”.

Read: Bus Éireann welcomes High Court ruling on school transport scheme>

Read: Commuters see price increases on buses, trains and trams>

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