How do Dublin Bus wages compare with their European counterparts?

The data shows drivers are faring better than colleagues in other major cities...

The Irish capital is almost halfway through six days of Dublin Bus strike action, with mass disruption caused in the city centre, little progress between parties and reports of at least 10 additional days without the service to come next month.

The reason behind it? Drivers want a pay increase, having had their wages frozen since 2008. Indeed, they argue that their take-home pay has actually been cut for close to two years, despite the fact Dublin Bus returned to profit in 2014. 

They are now calling for a 15% hike over three years, as well the 6% they had been promised eight years ago before it was put on hold due to the financial crisis.

The demands come following Luas drivers securing an 18.3% pay rise over five years earlier this year, and certainly public sentiment this time around seems to be far more on the side of Dublin Bus employees.

Even small independent retail owners who were feeling the negative impact on their sales during the first two days of industrial action last week expressed solidarity with them.

But how badly do they currently have it when we look at the bigger picture?

With an average basic salary of €35,463, Dublin Bus drivers are the sixth-best paid municipal bus drivers in Europe. They also ranked 12th in the world, according to a UBS Prices and Earnings study on 71 cities last year.

Here's how the top of that European list looked in US dollars:

1. Luxembourg – $85,578

2. Zurich – $77,028

3. Geneva – $64,590

4. Oslo – $48,184

5. Copenhagen – $45,819

6. Dublin – $39,016

The sub-index for bus drivers uses average earnings for local bus drivers with at least 10 years of driving experience.

A meeting of unions representing Dublin Bus drivers today. Picture by: Sean Defoe

The stats show that while cities including London, Paris and Milan are more expensive to live in, their bus drivers earn less.

The average monthly cost of living in Dublin is put at €2,091 by UBS.

This is below the eight-placed Stockholm, where the monthly cost of living is €2,285 and drivers earn €33,718 on average, and London a ranking lower, with the cost of living at €2,519 and drivers earning €33,263 on average. 

The monthly cost of living in Amsterdam is less than €100 cheaper than in Dublin, and Dutch drivers there earn €31,433. That's looking at the European top 10 alone.

In the overall earning rankings across all sectors, Dublin has the 9th highest earnings of the European destinations. It is also ranked 9th in domestic purchasing power (how much you can buy with your wages) of the European hubs.

Dublin is the 10th most expensive European city on the list which was compiled by the world's largest private bank.

Additional reporting: Joseph Conroy