Belfast Telegraph

Talks held in Dublin bus dispute

Business and union leaders have held talks to try to avert industrial action at Dublin Bus.

A group has been established to carry out an urgent investigation into how the Labour Court recommendation relating to cutting costs at the company can go ahead.

Drivers - who brought the capital to a standstill over the August Bank Holiday weekend - have already rejected the deal while six other grades in the company accepted the proposals.

Danny McCoy of business group IBEC and Congress leader David Begg held talks today with the general secretaries of the Department of Transport and Jobs.

The group will identify the issues in the proposals which have contributed to their rejection by the driving grade, identify how those issues can be resolved and make recommendations including a timescale for implementation.

They plan to engage external expertise to carry out a detailed investigation on its behalf, including discussions with management, trade unions and drivers.

Around 2,300 Dublin Bus drivers, represented by Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), voted on the measures, aimed at slashing the company's costs by nearly 12 million euro a year.

Two-thirds of that would be taken directly from workers' pay.

Siptu said 72% of its members rejected the new proposal, while members of the NBRU voted by a majority of two to one against them.

The proposal for the group was brought forward by the two parties, said the Department of Transport.

"The Government, ICTU and IBEC note that the Labour Court stated that its recommendations were based on the conclusion that the financial evidence, which was independently examined and verified by consultants nominated by the unions, showed that the savings were plainly and unambiguously necessary in order to protect employment," it said.

"They are conscious that the continued deferral of the implementation of cost reduction measures places employment in the company at increased risk.

"The Government, ICTU and IBEC are also of the view that a final effort should be made to resolve the matter without further strike action, which would be very disruptive for commuters and could have very serious consequences for the company, its employees and for the economy."

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