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SIPTU to ballot for industrial action over changes in Bus Éireann

The cost-cutting measures are due to come into effect on 13 January.

File photo
File photo
Image: Photocall Ireland

Updated: 13:53

THE NEW YEAR could see transport disrupted as unions representing employees of Bus Éireann strive to reach an outcome to suit all parties before 13 January 2013.

This is the date from which a raft of new measures are set to impact employees, including lower overtime rates and an increased working week for some.

Trade union SIPTU have today confirmed that its members are set to ballot for industrial action against the transport provider.

SIPTU organiser Willie Noone said that the decision by management at Bus Éireann to “threaten staff with pay-cuts and major changes to their conditions of employment” was unacceptable.

It is not acceptable that staff be informed that their wages are being cut, including basic pay in some circumstances, and that other contractual conditions of employment will be altered at a time when their representatives are engaged in discussions to assist with the financial position of the company.

He went on to say: “Bus Éireann employees are being threatened with further reductions in 2013 and SIPTU members will have no choice but to ballot for industrial action to protect their current conditions of employment.”

He said that the cuts were being proposed “without any proper engagement or agreement” and that they could jeopardise ongoing talks with other CIE companies which, he said, could ”lead to industrial disputes across the group.”

It is also understood that members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) are set to have a vote on whether industrial action will take place before the new measures come into effect, with the general secretary of the NBRU, Michael Faherty, telling the Irish Examiner that if the workers he represent were to vote in favour of this, industrial action would follow.

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The company, which is facing an annual loss of €16 million should the measures outlined below fail to be implemented, has said that there had been “no progress in achieving the cost reductions”. Acknowledging that it had been a “difficult year,” they said that they now had no option “but to implement changes to employees’ terms and conditions”.

Changes

Changes to the terms and conditions for employees 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

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

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Paul Hyland

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