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Shane Ross says he won't ride in on a white horse to stop the Dublin Bus strikes

He said he will not open the State cheque book to solve the issue and says the two sides have to start talking.

Image: Sam Boal

MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT Shane Ross said he will not be intervening in the Dublin Bus dispute.

Last week, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) announced 13 additional days of strike action.

The next work stoppage is due to take place on 23 and 24 September.

“I’m not going to ride in on a white horse in shining armour and have a cheque book and say that’s going to solve the problem,” Ross told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport today.

That would be exactly the wrong thing to do. This dispute, as everybody knows, will be resolved.It won’t be resolved if I participate in it in a way which would make things far worse.

shane ross Transport Minister Shane Ross Source: Screengrab/Oireachtas TV

Minister’s intervention 

Opposition parties, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, have called for the minister to intervene in the dispute, which has resulted in some 400,000 people who use Dublin Bus every weekday discommoded.

“We are in the middle of a very sensitive time,” said Ross, highlighting that unions representing Bus Éireann workers today left talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

He said he has the same message for unions as he does for management.

“I don’t want to see the management of Dublin Bus or Bus Éireann or Iarnród Eireann coming to me or assuming for one moment that the cheque book is going to open either.”

Ross said the government’s position is “quite clear”.

This has to be settled between the two parties.

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16/09/2016. Dublin Bus Drivers Strike. Pictured Du Dublin Bus Drivers picket outside the Broadstone Depot in Dublin last week. Source: Sam Boal

Union demands 

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

The industrial action comes about after unions rejected a Labour Court-recommended 8.25% increase over the next three years.

This week, the NBRU highlighted that the State subvention to Dublin Bus has fallen by 32.6% – or €28 million – since 2008.

The minister acknowledged that “Ireland is very low on the subvention league table”.

He said he sees this as a separate issue, but added the subvention is going to be increased next year.

I am looking for a fairly healthy increase in subvention.

Read: Bus Éireann may face industrial action as workers told there’s no hope of pay rise>

Read: 17-year-old boy’s leg broken in brawl during GAA match>

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