Pay dispute escalates as 13 more days of strike action are announced
Ongoing industrial action has cost Dublin Bus more than €4 million since last week, according to the company.
Around 400,000 commuters face further travel disruption this morning as drivers hold a fourth day of strike action.
No Dublin Bus routes, sightseeing tours or Airlink services will operate, while Nitelink buses will not run on either Friday night or Saturday morning.
A third 48-hour stoppage is scheduled for next week, in addition to the 13 further days of strike action announced yesterday by SIPTU.
Union members at the state-owned company are seeking a 15% pay rise over the next three years, as well as a payment in lieu of an agreed 6% increase that was deferred in 2009.
Dublin Bus has insisted it can only afford the 8.25% rise recommended by the Labour Court.
The next strikes this month will be held on Friday 23rd, Saturday 24th, Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th.
In October, stoppages are planned for Saturday 1st, Wednesday 5th, Friday 7th, Monday 10th, Wednesday 12th, Friday 14th, Tuesday 18th, Wednesday 19th, Monday 24th, Wednesday 26th and Saturday 29th.
Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU told Newstalk Breakfast that he believes many commuters support the strike.
"People in media try to drive workers and public against each other. The travelling public are very sympathetic.
"I won't overplay it but the bus driver and his passenger have a unique relationship... so politicians should take heed of the constituents they represent."
SIPTU organiser Owen Reidy yesterday accused Dublin Bus and the Department of Transport of having “little interest” in resolving the dispute.
"Our members are disappointed that the only response so far from the CEO of Dublin Bus to this dispute has been to call for talks at the Workplace Relations Commission to discuss a Labour Court recommendation that has already been rejected by over 90% of our members.
"It is not a genuine attempt to find an agreed resolution to this dispute," he said.
In a statement, the company said: "Dublin Bus is disappointed that this industrial action is taking place and that our customers are being significantly discommoded.
"To date, this industrial action has cost the company in excess of €4 million and continues to impact the financial stability of the company."
Meanwhile, Minister for Transport Shane Ross called on management and the unions to engage with each other immediately.
A statement from his department said: "Minister Ross greatly regrets the grave inconvenience caused to the travelling public by this ongoing dispute.
"He is acutely aware of calls for him to directly intervene but must reiterate, that as any ministerial intervention could be interpreted as a commitment to open the State chequebook, it would be inappropriate for him to do so."
Newstalk Drive's Henry McKean spoke with one driver on the picket line yesterday: