"We will never, ever sit down for negotiations": National Bus and Railworkers Union aims to protect rural transport

They called the National Transport Authority 'the HSE on Wheels'.

Bus drivers, pay increases, Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann, NBRU, Luas, dispute, Dermot OLeary

A Bus Éireann bus in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The National Bus and Railworkers Union says it'll never agree to talks about downgrading workers' terms.

Bus workers have formed an organisation called Save Our Bus Service (SOBS) and are arguing that the planned modernisation is another attack on rural Ireland which is already fighting to keep “vital services” such as post offices, banks and Garda stations.

The group has announced a new campaign aimed at protecting rural transport services in which it claims the National Transport Authority (NTA) is 'the HSE on Wheels'.

Bus Éireann has indicated that it wants to separate Expressway from the rest of the company, reduce staff and introduce pay cuts. It also wants to change terms and conditions of employment and sub-contract a number of routes.

In a letter to staff earlier this year, chief executive Martin Nolan said Bus Éireann’s finances are in a critical position. He said the company had lost €5.6m last year and had projected losses of €6m in 2016.

The union is warning there's a real danger of swathes of the country being left without services, if Bus Éireann moves ahead with the plans.

The union has warned that “as a last resort” it will engage in industrial action.