September strikes set to cause disruption on Dublin Bus routes
Dublin Bus users are facing the prospect of six days of strikes as drivers ratchet up their campaign for pay rises.
The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu issued the threat to the company today, which includes three 48 hour stoppages on September 8 and 9, the following week on September 15 and 16 and again on September 23 and 24.
Workers at Dublin Bus claim they have not had any wage increase for eight years.
NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary accused management and civil servants of playing Russian roulette with the vital transport service.
"It is a sad indictment on Dublin Bus and its pay masters that they have not made any effort towards resolving this dispute," he said.
"This despite the fact that it is now over six weeks since the Labour Court Recommendation on pay was rejected by staff, it seems that the company and the mandarins at the department are prepared to play Russian roulette with a public transport service that underpins the social and economic fabric of our capital city."
Dublin Bus carries about 330,000 people every day.
The strike warning was made after staff rejected a Labour Court recommendation which proposed an 8.2% pay rise over three years.
Owen Reidy, Siptu's organiser in the transport, energy, aviation and construction sectors, said the pay demands - 15% over three years along with other payments - was fair and reasonable.
The union is also seeking a payment in lieu of an agreed 6% pay increase which was deferred a number of years ago and it called for pay to be pensionable along the same terms as Irish Rail workers and a link between pay and pensions to be maintained.
Mr Reidy said: "Dublin Bus returned to profit in 2014. Over the last five years there has been an increase in passenger numbers and revenue is up 30%.
"However, during this period the state subvention to the company has been reduced by a total of 24%. This cut further undermines a transport company whose subvention, in comparison to that provided to bus services in other European cities, was already low."
Mr O'Leary said the pay demand and call for the deferred 6% pay increase to be met are "building blocks" in treating bus workers the same as tram workers.
The Luas network was crippled over the course of months earlier this year as drivers and ticket inspectors took repeated strike action in a bitter dispute with management. They secured an 18% pay increase.
"Our members desire is not to engage in a dispute which will discommode the very people who rely on this most practical, most necessary public service, however, the (Transport) Minister Shane Ross and the Government have a responsibility to ensure that Dublin Bus is allowed to come back to the negotiating table with an improved offer," Mr O'Leary said.