BUS EIREANN HAS revealed plans to increase revenues and cut costs to the tune of €20 million by next year, with €9 million of those savings coming from changes in employee’s terms and conditions.
A reduction in overtime and premium payments, changes to sick leave, an increase in working hours for administrative staff and management from 36 hours per week to 39 hours, a reduction in annual leave and a restructuring of expenses are all on the table.
Staff will also be given the opportunity to avail of career breaks or shorter working weeks.
Bus Eireann is facing potential annual losses of €16 million which it attributes to a 20 per cent fall in customer numbers, competition, increasing fuel costs and a reduction in State subvention.
As well as payroll-related savings, the cost-saving measures will also target inter-city Expressway routes, operational efficiencies and an increased use of technology.
Bus Éireann has said that it is working with employees and unions and that it wants these plans finalised by 13 August. The company also said that there are no immediate plans to reduce basic wages or to implement redundancies, but that this is dependent on the success of these cost-saving plans.
Last week it emerged that Irish Rail is asking 450 of its staff to take a “voluntary severance package” to help the transport body to deal with ongoing losses.
Suggestions that the timing of the release of the news was deliberate to coincide with the referendum count and the bank holiday weekend were rejected by the Department of Transport.
Last week transport minister Leo Varadkar had rejected suggestions by United Left Alliance TD Joan Collins that meetings to be held about a cost recovery plan for Bus Éireann were put off until after last week’s referendum.