Dublin Bus drivers demand 'serious negotiations' to avert further strikes
Striking Dublin Bus workers have urged company bosses to negotiate with them or face intensified industrial action.
As drivers prepared to go back to work after the first in a series of planned 48-hour stoppages, union leaders insisted managers could put an end to further disruption for the capital's commuters.
John Murphy, organiser with the Siptu trade union, called for "serious negotiations" on driver demands for a pay rise to halt further shutdowns in the service.
"It is now up to Dublin Bus management and the Department of Transport to recognise the public support there is for a professional and efficient public bus service in Dublin operated by a properly paid workforce," he said.
"It is well past time that management, the Department and workers' representatives sit down and map out and agree a medium to long-term funding plan for public bus services in Dublin."
The city was hit with two days of traffic gridlock as people turned to private cars and taxis - which reported a threefold jump in business - since buses were called back to their depots on Wednesday evening.
Around 400,000 people are believed to have had their travel plans disrupted each day.
The walkout by members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu was the first of three planned for this month.
Willie Noone, also an organiser with Siptu, warned strike action could worsen over the coming weeks and months unless meaningful talks were started.
"The ball is now in the court of management and the Department in relation to finding a satisfactory conclusion for all stakeholders to this dispute," he said.
"If management and the Department maintain the intransigent attitude they have to meeting Dublin Bus workers' reasonable pay claim, our members are willing to continue, and if necessary intensify, their industrial action."
Mr Noone said the two days of transport upset in the capital were "deeply regrettable".
Buoyed by the successful fight by Luas drivers and inspectors earlier this year for a salary increase, union leaders are arguing for a 15% pay increase for Dublin Bus drivers over the coming three years.
Further strikes are planned on September 15 and 16 and again on September 23 and 24, with pickets being held in Clontarf, Conyngham Road, Harristown, Ringsend, Phibsboro, Donnybrook and Summerhill, as well as at the head office in O'Connell Street.