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Striking workers at Dublin Bus 'will leave company in debt'

Published 21/09/2016

Dublin Bus workers on a previous strike
Dublin Bus workers on a previous strike

Striking workers at Dublin Bus have been warned this week's walkout will leave the company in debt this year.

Management claimed the bill for stopping all services across the city will reach 6 million euro as the pay dispute runs into its third 48-hour stoppage on Thursday night.

In a letter to staff, chief executive Ray Coyne said Dublin Bus will lose 15m euro if the remaining 13 days of strikes go ahead as planned - as bad as its position after the 2010 economic collapse.

The bus chief issued the dire financial warning as the bitter row threatened to spill over into Bus Eireann, where workers will vote on industrial action after management said they have no money for pay rises.

Mr Coyne said: "Unlike the impact of the economic crisis which was outside our control, resolution to the current situation is within our control at this point.

"This ongoing industrial action is undermining all our past efforts and has the potential to return the company to a post 2010 financial crisis."

Mr Coyne also warned about the actions Dublin Bus would have to take if a resolution is not found to the strikes.

"This would naturally require actions to restore the company to a sound financial standing. Returning to such a scenario is totally unnecessary and is at this point wholly avoidable," he said.

Mr Coyne called for the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu to return to talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.

All Dublin Bus, Airlink and sightseeing services will be off the roads from 9pm on Thursday. The strike runs for 48 hours and no Nitelink services will run this weekend.

The company also said the c ost of funding the workers' pay claim would be 50m euro by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, Bus Eireann revealed it lost 5.6m euro last year and was predicting a 6m euro loss this year, mainly due to the commercial Expressway operations - which link towns and cities across the country.

"Bus Eireann cannot afford a pay increase," it said in a statement.

Some 2,600 workers are to be balloted for industrial action after the company revealed it was planning to cut costs by bringing in new terms and conditions for Expressway staff and sub-contracting routes.

It vowed to protect routes for customers, but warned it was suffering from increased levels of competition from "low cost operators", increased claims and wage costs.

It also said it cannot compete with buses running on motorways.

Bus Eireann said it needs to save 7m euro immediately and turn Expressway into a profitable business.

"These cost savings must be achieved internally and not through any cuts to service which would impact our customers," the company said.

Dermot O'Leary, NBRU general secretary, said the company plans were a bombshell.

"The current Dublin Bus dispute and this crisis at Bus Eireann are not unconnected," he said.

"There are huge question marks over the Department of Transport and its stewardship of the state-owned public transport services.

"It is now time for politicians from across all parties to step up to the plate on behalf of the communities they purport to represent. The Irish electorate can be extremely unforgiving to those they elect who fail to protect vital social services."

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From Belfast Telegraph