Bus and rail services resuming after 'unofficial' pickets lifted

There was major disruption across transport services this morning

Bus and rail services resuming after 'unofficial' pickets lifted

Image: Sean Defoe

Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services are resuming after being disrupted by 'unofficial' Bus Éireann pickets this morning.

Almost all trains and buses were cancelled by the action this morning, with management saying it was completely unexpected.

Irish Rail and Dublin Bus workers refused to cross secondary picket lines, leading to nationwide cancellations.

There is still some disruption across bus & rail services, but normal services are resuming.

Irish Rail says service on all routes is resuming, with some delays or cancellations.

Spokesman Barry Kenny is warning services may not be operating entirely as normal.

"One issue we would advise customers is that trains are out of place," he observed. "If we need a full-size train in Dublin for lunchtime, generally it was going to come up from Cork.

"So people may see the wrong size train - which could lead to congestion on some services."

Earlier, the company had said "the vast majority" of DART, Dublin Commuter, Cork Commuter and Intercity services were cancelled.

A full list of cancellations is available here, with almost every route across the country impacted earlier.

Bus disruption

Dublin Bus, meanwhile, said their depots were also affected by secondary picketing, but the pickets have now ceased.

The company says: "We are making every effort to resume services as quickly as possible.

"Real time information is now available however there will be delays on services for a period [...] due to the earlier disruption."

Luas services have been operating as normal, as well as private bus operators.

In a statement earlier, Transport Minister Shane Ross said passengers were being "seriously discommoded" by the action.

Speaking to Pat Kenny after the pickets were lifted, he argued: "What I really do regret deeply is the fact that what's happened this morning has been an orchestrated ambush on the travelling public. And I can't understand how this happened."

'Not organised by the trade union'

Bus Éireann workers' all-out strike over cost-saving measures has entered its eighth day. 

In a statement this afternoon, the company said it remains available for 'time-limited' talks on the proposed changes, but 'regrets' the disruption caused today.

The company says: "Escalation of this action in an illegal manner will not resolve the matter, and as a company, we can only engage on the basis of good faith.

"Trust must be restored in order for dialogue between both parties to resume."

SIPTU previously announced that Irish Rail and Dublin Bus members would be balloted for industrial action. However that process has not yet been completed.

Today, the union has said it did not organise or condone the wildcard action.

SIPTU's transport division organiser Greg Ennis said: “This union does not condone unofficial action of this nature. Only yesterday, we contacted our members in Iarnrod Eireann and Dublin Bus with plans for a ballot by them for industrial and strike action in solidarity with their colleagues in Bus Eireann.

“SIPTU members intend to use all legitimate industrial relations procedures in pursuit of fair treatment for public transport workers," he added.

NBRU's Dermot O'Leary, meanwhile, told Newstalk Breakfast this morning: "There are secondary pickets. They should not be there."

He said "absolutely, 100%" any members involved in the unofficial action should put down their placards. He stressed today's activity was not organised by the trade union.

Barry Kenny said Irish Rail were not expecting today's disruption.

He explained: "Had we any inkling we would have advised customers to be aware of this.

"But literally the calls started coming through at 4.30 this morning that we were seeing this secondary picketing at initially one site, but then very quickly to a range of sites."

Newstalk reporter Sean Defoe spoke to some of the passengers impacted by today's action:

Sean also spoke to some of those on the picket line at Heuston Station.

One Bus Éireann worker explained: "We can't take it anymore. We're getting savaged since 2008 by this Government [...] It just can't go on... We're getting nowhere.

"The drivers organised this themselves, there's no union backing here. We've just had enough of it."