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Dublin: 3°C Monday 6 December 2021

Varadkar: I’m not going to get involved in ‘nitty gritty’ of Dublin Bus negotiations

The Transport Minister has ruled out getting involved directly in talks to end the all-out strike at Dublin Bus.

Image: Photocall Ireland

UPDATED 9.20pm

THERE ARE NO signs as yet of any renewed discussions aimed at resolving the dispute at Dublin Bus, which has inconvenienced thousands of would-be customers in the city and surrounding counties since it began at midnight.

Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week programme this afternoon, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said he had no intention of involving himself in the “nitty gritty” of negotiations, and that it was up to unions and management to sort out the problem.

The Minister called for both sides to work together to end the action, saying the strike was “counterproductive” and would only make the financial situation at the company worse.

He said that if the dispute continued it “could jeopardise the jobs of other people in Dublin who don’t have the kind of protection enjoyed by workers at Dublin Bus”.

The dispute centres on planned cost-reduction measures being carried out by the semi-state company, which is seeking nearly €12 million in savings in the next year – of which €7.7 million will come directly from payroll.

Workers are being asked to accept reductions in rest day and overtime pay following recommendations from the Labour Court but members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and SIPTU have rejected the proposals, saying they can’t face any further cuts.

Asked whether the Labour Court recommendation could be altered in a deal that would see management take more pain, Minister Varadkar said “that’s not for me to say”, adding that it was company’s responsibility to “balance its books”.

Striking workers picket the Ringsend depot this morning (Image: Ronán Duffy/TheJournal.ie)

Speaking on the same programme, Dublin Bus spokesperson Cliona Ní Fhatharta said there were no renewed talks planned at this stage, but that the company would “engage positively” with the unions in any new effort to end the impasse.

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Transport sector organiser with SIPTU Willie Noone said the union was calling on management to amend a number of the Labour Court recommendations, and that workers were being asked to “buy into the unknown” under the current plans.

Noone said the arrangements being imposed on staff from today were unclear on issues like how much money workers in various categories would actually lose or how often they would be asked to work on extra days. He added:

We need certainty. You cannot ask people to buy into what they don’t know.

Sunday mornings are typically light in terms of passenger volumes on Dublin Bus, but the effect of the strike is likely to be felt more keenly this afternoon, with over 60,000 GAA fans attending Croke Park for the All Ireland SFC Quarter Finals.

Would-be customers are being told by the company to keep an eye on the Dublin Bus website and Twitter account for updates throughout the day.

UPDATE: Dublin Bus has confirmed tonight that services won’t run tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday.

Read: Dublin Bus CEO pleads with staff not to strike >

Read: Dublin Bus has no contingency plan if strike goes ahead >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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