Bus Éireann dispute to return to Labour Court

Unions refused to meet the company's acting CEO this afternoon and argued that there can be no pre-conditions on the table ahead of any talks

Bus Éireann dispute to return to Labour Court

Bus Eireann buses at Bus Aras station in Dublin, 19-01-2017. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

Drivers at Bus Éireann have agreed to attend Labour Court talks over cuts to services and staff terms and conditions.

Unions refused an invitation to meet with the company’s acting CEO this morning after management wrote to staff outlining proposed cuts.

The company told staff it "will go out of business" without major changes - including restructuring.

Wage increases of between 1% and 3% were offered to employees - however the proposals also included cutbacks to other rates and conditions.

The general secretary of the NBRU, Dermot O’Leary said staff had been “thrown to the wolves” by management of the company and suggested the cut-backs could amount to losses of 30% for workers.

Earlier today Mr O’Leary said there could be no pre-conditions on the table ahead of any talks on the dispute.

“As long as there is a condition which involves people’s wages being cut in front of us before we go to any talks then those talks cannot take place,” he said.

However, this afternoon the union said it has now accepted an invitation to attend the Labour Court in order to “provide some clarity” on the conjecture surrounding the dispute.

Staff and management already attended the Labour Court last year in order to address union demands for a 21% pay rise over the coming years.

The court could potentially now rule that the current dispute represents an entirely new disagreement - which would need to go before the Workplace Relations Committee before any hearing can be convened.

Submission to the Oireachtas

Meanwhile, Bus Éireann’s acting CEO, Ray Hernan is due to go before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport on Wednesday afternoon - however, details of his planned submission have already been published by RTÉ.

According to reports Mr Hernan will tell the committee that the company’s finances are worse than feared - with losses for 2016 now forecast to go as high as €9m.

He is reported to be preparing to tell the Oireachtas that without “drastic and decisive” action the entire company will go out of business with the loss of all its 2,600 jobs.

A Bus Éireann spokesperson said the company had no comment to make on the reports - adding that Mr Hernan’s submission “should not be in circulation” ahead of his Oireachtas appearance.