Belfast Telegraph

Bus Eireann reaches agreement with trade unions

Bus Eireann has reached agreement with unions on a new cost-cutting plan.

The move means there will be no strike action in the Republic for at least the next 19 months following two days of intensive talks at the Labour Relations Commission.

The deal comes after a two-day strike earlier this week which left 80,000 passengers a day without a service.

Strike action had led to reduced cross-border services for those travelling between Belfast and Dublin or Derry and Dublin.

The new agreement between management and the three unions - SIPTU, the National Bus and Rail Union and the TSSA which represents clerical staff - will yield the necessary savings to help keep the company in business.

The agreement, details of which will be released later today, will be put to union members in a series of ballots over the coming weeks.

Assuming the deal is endorsed by workers, the changes to terms and conditions will take effect from June 1.

Part of the agreement is that there will be no further strike action until at least January 1 2015.

Under the proposed agreement, Bus Eireann will not be implementing a Labour Court recommendation on an earlier cost-cutting plan.

The company said the new deal would yield €5m in savings, and keep 300 routes operating.

The deal was welcomed by the Republic's Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, who said yesterday he would prefer another strike rather than a deal which did not yield the required savings.

"I welcome this agreement which represents an important breakthrough. I am hopeful that it will be sufficient to restore the company to financial health," he said.

“The priority throughout has been to protect services for passengers, get the company back on a sustainable footing, and secure the jobs. I know that passengers across Ireland will welcome this deal in principle."

He added he would not be making any further comment as staff had to consider the proposal before it was accepted.

The Republic's Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly added that the industrial unrest had been "extremely difficult" for the company and passengers, and that the deal should help ensure the future of the company and services.

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