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Unions accuse Bus Éireann of 'seeking to collapse talks' around averting strike

A strike action scheduled for today was cancelled after a breakthrough at the WRC last Wednesday.

File Photo Bus Eireann strike to start on February 20th. End. Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Updated at 5.10pm

UNIONS REPRESENTING BUS Éireann workers have hit out at company management for releasing a document to workers warning of increased losses at the company while talks are ongoing at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Both the Siptu and NBRU trade unions have accused Bus Éireann management of attempting to undermine the talks after they released the document which points to large company losses being forecast for last year.

The document – seen by TheJournal.ie - states that projected losses for 2016 at the company have now increased.

The company states that it is looking at an estimated operating loss of €9.4 million for last year. It states that losses for last month are already in excess of €1.5 million.

Talks are ongoing in the WRC this evening as both sides attempt to end the industrial impasse at the company in a dispute over workers’ pay and conditions as the company attempts to shore up its losses on its regional bus routes.

Dermot O’Leary – general secretary of the NBRU – said that the company was “deliberately provoking its own staff” by releasing the document while talks were ongoing.

“It’s absolutely appalling that management at Bus Éireann are playing Russian Roulette with its own staff and the public transport system,” he said.

O’Leary also questioned whether the company was “determined to force its own workforce onto the streets”.

Meanwhile, Siptu sector organiser Willie Noone said that the company was “looking for the breakdown of these talks”.

Siptu representatives remain insistent that the issues we have raised must be addressed prior to engaging with the document.

Embattled

The embattled semi-state company has been told it needs to make massive savings in order to maintain viability.

An all-out strike had initially been planned for today, however a breakthrough last Wednesday at the WRC saw both that action, and a strike ballot planned for Dublin Bus, called off.

In a statement at the time the National Bus and Rail Union, which represents workers at the company, said:

“The WRC have today requested that all parties, Unions and Management at Bus Éireann postpone all actions scheduled for 20 February to facilitate discussions on all issues on Friday 17, Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 February.”

Whist we remain of the view that a multi-stakeholder involvement will ultimately be required to resolve this dispute, in deference to the WRC, we are prepared to engage in this process to establish if we can achieve some progress towards an overarching and sustainable resolution.

With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

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