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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 23 January, 2020
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Bus Éireann: It’s ‘unlikely’ we’ll manage to stop a strike before midnight

The bus operator says travellers should expect disruptions as some staff strike, and others refuse to pass pickets.

Bus Éireann's main depot in Dublin
Bus Éireann's main depot in Dublin
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 18:30

IT’S NOW VIRTUALLY certain that national bus services will be disrupted tomorrow, as a result of strike action of members of a union which represents nearly half of its entire workforce.

Bus Éireann said this evening it was “highly unlikely” that it would be able to enter meaningful talks with the National Bus and Rail Union before its members begin an all-out strike at midnight.

Members of that union, which represents around 1,100 of Bus Éireann’s 2,500 staff, are disputing plans to increase working hours and refuse some shift payments – measures recommended by the Labour Court and aimed at saving €5 million this year at the loss-making bus operator.

While Bus Éireann said it remained available for talks, to date it had “not received any credible and viable alternatives from the trade unions that will provide the same level of savings as outlined in the Labour Court recommendation.”

The operator said it could not predict how many services would be disrupted, as it was prepared for the prospect of members of other unions refusing to pass picket lines mounted by their colleagues.

“Bus Éireann will do its upmost to maintain as many services as it can on Sunday as long as it is safe to do so,” it said, advising passengers intending to travel tomorrow to check its website in the morning for updates, and apologising for any inconvenience caused.

While the operator lost €6 million last year, and continues to lose €500,000 a month, workers have argued that the plans would see them lose between €3,000 and €4,000 each every year – though Bus Éireann itself claims the measures would protect jobs and core pay.

SIPTU organiser Willie Noone had not responded to requests for comment on whether SIPTU workers, who represent the bulk of the remaining staff, would present for work tomorrow.

Additional reporting by Hugh O’Connell

Read: Bus Éireann workers to strike from Sunday

Bus Éireann warns: Bring in pay cuts or we could end up breaking the law

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