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Free Culture Night buses around Dublin city won't run because of strike action

Dublin Bus has a long association with the arts event, and is described as its Transport Partner.
Sep 13th 2016, 6:07 AM 15,885 15

THERE ARE NO talks scheduled between Dublin Bus drivers and management ahead of two more days of strike action this week which will see hundreds of thousands of commuters disrupted, and will put a dampener on the city’s annual Culture Night event.

Dublin Bus drivers and unions are currently engaged in an industrial dispute with the company over pay, which saw the service shut down for two days last week.

Two more days of action are planned for this coming Thursday and Friday, with no sign of any agreement being reached by both sides in time to avert the strike.

As well as the disruption to morning and evening commuter routes, the strike will affect some people heading out on Culture Night, which is due to be held in the capital this Friday.

Hundreds of events are scheduled to take place across Dublin this Friday for Culture Night, with many people expected to attend.

Dublin Bus has a long association with the arts event, and is described as its Transport Partner.

Aside from its regular routes, Dublin Bus was set to provide four free routes across different areas of Dublin city between 6pm and 11pm this Friday.

download (13) An image from last year's Culture Night bus.

The planned routes were to take in different events held in different quarters of the city.

However, spokespeople for Dublin Bus and Culture Night have confirmed to TheJournal.ie that these services will not go ahead this Friday if strikes take place.

“Dublin Bus has received notice from Trade Unions that industrial action is planned for this coming Thursday and Friday,” a spokesperson for Dublin Bus said.

“Should the action go ahead, we will not be able to provide any service on Friday.”

It is regrettable that we are forced into this position as we have been associated with Culture Night for over 10 years.

The spokesperson also said that due to the large scale of the operation it would not be possible for the company to put any contingency plan in place for Friday.

culture-night-3

“It is regrettable that we are forced into this position as we have been associated with Culture Night for over 10 years,” the spokesperson said.

“We can’t come back to the table on our own”

Issues over pay are at the heart of the dispute between the workers and the company.

Unions are seeking a 15% pay increase over the next three years and the 6% rise they were due to get under an agreement in 2009, but which was deferred.

A Labour Court recommendation for an 8.25% increase over two years was roundly rejected by drivers in July, who then served strike notice at the end of August.

Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) told TheJournal.ie yesterday that unions were willing to re-enter into negotiations with Dublin Bus in order to avert strike action, but that they had not been approached to do so.

“No one has been in touch with us from the company or the government to resolve this,” said O’Leary.

We can’t come back to the table on our own, we need other people there.

In a statement last week, Dublin Bus said that it “remains available for talks” with unions but said that any pay increases above 8.25% “must be done on the basis of productivity”.

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download (14) Dublin Bus workers taking part in industrial action last week. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

A meeting between the five unions involved in the industrial action is due to take place this Thursday, where they will discuss the next phase of the industrial action.

O’Leary said that an escalation of the action could be on the cards.

“We will look at future options to see whats required,” he said.

Culture Night

O’Leary said that hundreds of thousands of commuters would be affected again by the strike action and that it was up to Dublin Bus and the government to resolve the matter.

He expressed regret that the Culture Night event would be disrupted, but said that it was Dublin Bus management’s responsibility to provide a working service for customers.

“I know Culture night is on – but it’s their responsibility to be running the service,” he said.

A spokesperson for Culture Night organisers said in a statement to TheJournal.ie that the strike was “a matter for Dublin Bus and the Unions” and that they looked forward to “a speedy resolution on the matter”.

Anyone wishing to attend events is being advised to consider other public transport measures or to drive.

Read: Dublin Bus drivers are on strike again today – but you can get cheap taxis

Read: ‘All we want is fair pay for a job that we do well’ – a Dublin Bus driver gives his take on their strike 

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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