Agreement reached in Bus Éireann dispute

Thursday 16 May 2013 22.30
The proposals will now be put to union members
The proposals will now be put to union members

Agreement has been reached between unions and management in the Bus Éireann dispute over cost-saving measures.

It followed around 23 hours of talks between the two sides facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission.

If the proposed measures are accepted by trade union members, the agreement will begin on 1 June and run until January 2015.

In a statement, the company said the measures will help protect the future of the company, 2,500 jobs and 300 routes around the country.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and Minister of State for Public Transport Alan Kelly welcomed agreement on the €5m savings plan in principle.

Workers went on strike on Sunday and Monday causing massive disruption, but went back to work on Tuesday pending the outcome of negotiations.

Bus Éireann services are continuing to operate today.

Company spokesperson Andrew McLindon has said all grades of staff will make a contribution to the deal.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Pat Kenny, he said the important thing was that the deal delivered the savings necessary to protect the future of the company.

He said management were making a significant contribution of around 20%.

However, he also made clear that Bus Éireann workers who participated in the strike action earlier this week will not be paid for those days.

NBRU General Secretary Michael Faherty said core pay had been protected.

He also said that management were not taking any more of a hit than anyone else and they were better able to afford it.

Mr Faherty said it remained to be seen if the deal would be endorsed by union members, as some would have problems with certain aspects.

He said the union will not be recommending either acceptance or rejection of the deal.

After 19 months the agreement would lapse and current conditions would return, he added.

SIPTU has said the deal with Bus Éireann will see senior management taking significant pay cuts while anti-social shift payments will be protected.

Sector organiser Willie Noone said the deal delivered equity for its members and the burden had been lessened.

He said ballots of SIPTU members at Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail would now be suspended.

Mr Noone said it sent a message to middle and senior management that when they came knocking on workers' doors, they would know in future that they also have to look in their own pockets. 

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