Labour Court refuses to intervene in Bus Éireann dispute

The National Bus and Rail Union has again insisted that cuts to terms and conditions will lead to industrial action

Updated 21:20

The Labour Court has refused to intervene in the Bus Éireann dispute over cuts to services and staff terms and conditions. 

Staff and management had already attended the court last December in order to address union demands for a 21% pay rise over the coming years.

In a statement this evening, SIPTU sector organiser Willie Noone said this evenings discussion “did not involve any engagement” regarding the company’s restructuring proposals.

He said SIPTU representatives attened the hearing in order to find out why company management had requested the court to intervene.

He said all parties at the hearing had agreed there was, “no benefit in re-engaging on the claim that was before the Labour Court hearing on 6th December 2016.” 

The National Bus and Rail Union general secretary Dermot O'Leary said the decision had made it clear that the court’s role in the pay claim process is now finished.

He again insisted Bus Eireann staff aren't prepared to accept the company's cost-cutting plans.

“It is quite clear from the anger on the ground here that if the company are to move to unilaterally introduce cuts to terms and conditions then there will be a reaction and that reaction will come in the form of industrial action,” he said.

“We will consider options around that on Thursday.”

Earlier this afternoon the unions attended a briefing of the Oireachtas Transport Committee to discuss the ongoing dispute.

In a statement this evening, Independent TD Joan Collins said the dispute was "heading for disaster" with the company at risk of insolvency - and called on the Minister for Transport Shane Ross to intervene.

“The government is forcing Bus Éireann to compete on a grossly unfair playing field," she said. "Due to insufficient public funding the company is actually losing money for every extra passenger it takes.

"This amounts to punishment of Bus Éireann for providing much-needed transport to people that private companies would leave on the side of the road." 

“Management’s solution to this problem is to cut wages and conditions for Bus Éireann’s workers - allowing for a race to the bottom in yet another part of the economy which once provided jobs that could support a family and meet the cost of living.

“We are heading for a future in rural transport where private companies make a killing, workers don't make enough to get by and the people who most need the service are thrown under the bus. 

Bus Éireann submission to Joint Committee on Transport

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 warn the committee that the entire company is in danger of going out of business with the loss of 2,600 jobs.

Unions are due to meet on Thursday to discuss their next move.