Belfast Telegraph

Dublin Bus users with yearly and monthly tickets to get strike refunds

Dublin Bus users with monthly and yearly tickets are being offered refunds for every day lost in the strike.

With the stoppages now in their fourth day and another 15 days of walk-outs planned, the company said the pay dispute has already cost it four million euro.

But bus users who want to claim back costs for the disruption to their journeys and commutes will have to wait until the strike is called off and a deal done with unions.

"To date, this industrial action has cost the company in excess of four million euro and continues to impact the financial stability of the company," Dublin Bus said.

Refunds will compound the financial pressures on the company with some users in line for refunds of more than 100 euro if the strikes run as planned.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has repeatedly insisted he cannot step in to try and resolve the dispute with newly-announced stoppages this month set for September 27 and 28.

These are in addition to the 48-hour strike already scheduled for next week, on September 23 and 24.

Next month, further strike days are planned for October 1, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 18, 19, 24, 26 and 29.

Bus users with Leap Cards for annual and monthly travel will be issued a refund by Dublin Bus for each day lost due to the strikes.

These can be collected at the company's head office on O'Connell Street while others who missed out on Sightseeing Tours and Airlink services can also seek refunds or ask for their trip to be rescheduled.

Transport Minister Shane Ross refused to budge on calls for the Government to intervene.

"I say to them once again, to management and unions, that we are not going to open the chequebook for them. They have got to do this on their own," he said.

Mr Ross rejected suggestions that he was not doing enough to get a deal and insisted it was not the shareholders' role to try and broker a settlement.

"I feel great empathy for everyone involved, particularly the commuters who have been greatly inconvenienced. I'm certainly not inactive, I'm monitoring it closely, on an hourly basis," he said.

"It is very important to us that we are not seen to be a soft touch or that we are going to produce the state's cheque book. It wouldn't be right to do that."

Siptu said it sympathised with the public and workers, who have been greatly inconvenienced.

Its members at Dublin Bus repeated calls for the company bosses and Mr Ross' civil servants to immediately open talks.

Senior union representative Owen Reidy said: "There is only one way that this dispute will end, and that is through serious talks aimed at agreement on a long-term funding model for Dublin Bus."

Mr Reidy said the talks should also involve workers.

"The Minister for Transport cannot stand aloof from talks aimed at securing the future of a public transport company whose main funder, outside of the public's contribution through fares, is the state," he said.

"It is time that everyone in this dispute stood up and accepted their responsibilities to the travelling public and focused on creating a long-term sustainable funding model for Dublin Bus which is based on best international practice."

Siptu leaders also insisted the workers' resolve remained strong, despite four days of strikes.

Union organiser John Murphy said: "The resolve of our members to secure a long-term solution to the problems at Dublin Bus is only growing.

"Although individuals in Government and at management level, who may seldom use the public bus system, would seem intent on attempting to drive a wedge between service users and staff, our members merely remain focused on securing a just resolution to this dispute."


From Belfast Telegraph