Dublin Bus drivers would need to work “even more unsociable hours” under proposed changes to work practices, according to TD Richard Boyd Barrett.
A proposed new agreement with the National Transport Authority would see Dublin Bus drivers receive up to almost 15% pay increases in some cases.
However, in return they would have to work different hours and different routes.
Around 100 drivers held a protest outside Leinster House last week over the proposals, ahead of a final vote on the deal on August 12th.
Dublin Bus has said the changes are needed to ensure “competitiveness in the current operating environment”.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett told Newstalk Breakfast the proposed agreement would “fundamentally impact” drivers’ work-life balance.
He said: “Bus workers already work pretty unsociable hours - doing very, very early shifts to drive buses, or ending very late in the evening.
“They are now going to be asked to work even longer working days… even more unsociable hours… and have very little family time.
“They just think they can’t do that, and shouldn't be asked to do that.”
He said bus drivers were “very much” frontline workers who continued working right through the pandemic.
However, he suggested they now feel “stabbed in the back” by the latest proposals.
He said drivers believe some of the proposed pay increase is actually pay increases they should have received in recent years.
He explained: “The rest of it is spread over a further three years. That so-called 14% pay increase is over six years… but it’s not even that much, because that also includes existing shift allowances, bank holiday allowances and so on, which are going to be consolidated into a new base rate of pay.
“We have the lowest level of subsidy for public transport of almost any country in Europe.
“In Ireland, we seem to have this approach which seems to be about pushing the entire public transport system towards privatisation. Really, that privatisation is a stick that’s being used over the heads of bus workers to make up for the fact that the State does not properly subside public transport.”
He added that drivers he has spoken to are “absolutely furious” about the proposals, and he believes workers will therefore reject the plan “overwhelmingly”.