Dublin Bus strike: Shane Ross does not plan to intervene in dispute

Bus services will terminate at 9pm this evening before industrial action gets underway

Dublin Bus strike: Shane Ross does not plan to intervene in dispute

Image: RollingNews.ie

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has ruled out intervening in the Dublin Bus dispute ahead of a planned strike by drivers. 

All bus services will stop running at 9pm this evening before industrial action officially begins at midnight.

Commuters will be forced to find alternative transport on Thursday and Friday, and four further days of strike action are planned for later this month (on the 15th, 16th, 23rd and 24th).

But Mr Ross told reporters: "This is a dispute between the management and unions.

"It would be absolutely wrong for me to give any impression that the state is going to use its chequebook to sort out this problem."

He also said it would be illegal to allow commuters to use bus lanes over the course of the 48-hour strike. 

Gardaí earlier confirmed that the lanes will operate as normal, being reserved for emergency service vehicles and cyclists.

Workers at the state-owned company were balloted on industrial action last month after rejecting an 8.25% pay rise recommended by the Labour Court.

Union members had sought increases of up to 31%, to bring their pay in line with Luas drivers.

Talks aimed at averting the strike broke down last week.

Dublin Bus said yesterday that it was working to find a resolution to the dispute.

However, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) accused management of "inflammatory tactics" by stopping bus services at 9pm.

SIPTU said drivers had committed to completing their shifts even if it meant returning buses to garages after midnight. 

It also reiterated its criticism of state funding cuts, pointing out that workers have not had a pay rise in eight years. 

"Dublin Bus returned to profitability in 2014. This is despite the reduction of the state subvention to the company by 24% in the last six years," organiser Owen Reidy said. 

But Mr Ross called on unions and management to go back to talks, saying: "I think the only way that this strike can be sorted is that the two sides get together across the table again and discuss a settlement."