Belfast Telegraph

Unions call off Bus Eireann strike

Unions have called off a national bus strike after Bus Eireann agreed to defer cuts in staff terms and conditions.

The industrial action, due to start on Sunday, has been postponed until both sides attend a Labour Court hearing early next week to discuss a revised cost-cutting plan.

Bus Eireann confirmed there will be no disruption to services on Sunday and Monday.

The agreement was reached after almost 12 hours of intensive talks between the parties at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said: "I welcome the decision by Bus Eireann and the trades union to attend a Labour Court hearing next week. I hope that both sides will be able to reach a final resolution in the near future, in the interests of passengers and taxpayers."

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) had warned its 900 drivers would refuse to operate Bus Eireann services from Sunday if the measures were enforced without agreement. However NBRU general secretary Michael Faherty said there were still several measures within the new proposals to be discussed.

The Transport and Salaried Staff Association and Siptu have also voted in favour of industrial action over the plan to slash employees' pay and expenses.

Siptu's strike action is due to begin next Thursday and warned industrial action could spread to other companies in the CIE group, like Dublin Bus and Irish Rail.

Bus Eireann informed staff in December that it would be introducing changes from January 13, but unions argued the changes were made without negotiation and balloted members to take action.

The cost-cutting plan includes reducing overtime rates from 1.5-1.25 times; the working week for clerical and executive staff moving from 36 to 39 hours; reducing annual leave by three days this year and in 2014 and 2015; and a one-third cut in other allowances and expenses.


From Belfast Telegraph