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UPDATE: Bus Eireann to proceed with cost saving plan despite planned strike action

Drivers will strike from Sunday over planned changes to pay and working conditions.

Image: Photocall Ireland

BUS EIREANN HAS said it will go ahead with  the implementation of changes to its employees terms and conditions from 13 January despite planned strike action announced by the National Bus and Rail Workers Union (NBRU) today.

The union said today drivers would be taking industrial action in response to the planned cuts to worker’s pay and changes to their conditions of employment.

Members voted in favour of the industrial action by a margin of 92 per cent and the strike will take place from Sunday though it has not yet been decided how long it will last.

In a statement today General Secretary of the NBRU Michael Faherty said that “despite the trade unions commitment to continue negotiations within the customary industrial relations mechanisms the company has arbitrarily decided to step away from the process and impose what is effectively a pay reduction on our members”.

Faherty went on to say that “to impose conditions without first exhausting the established normal industrial relations process is regrettable and the company have questions to answer in this regard”.

Bus Eireann this evening said it had been involved in discussions with unions over the issue since June and had requested a hearing in the Labour Court on the company’s cost recovery plan but said this was rejected by unions.

A spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that Bus Eireann has not been officially notified of the strike and that an in-house agreement requires the unions to give 30 days notice of any industrial action.

“We have received no official confirmation from the NBRU of industrial action and what that might entail,” he said. “It is critical for our customers that the NBRU inform the company of what industrial action they are planning to take and when.”

In a statement Bus Éireann said it has repeatedly stated since June 2012 that “failure to agree to this plan will leave the company facing potential annual losses of €16m”.

“This level of potential losses must be addressed in order to protect services and jobs and ensure the company can continue to invest in providing a quality service.”

The changes to employee terms and conditions from 13 January 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.;

The planned changes are designed to save the company €9 million in a full year.

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