SIPTU has recommended its members at Dublin Bus reject Labour Court pay rise proposals, raising the possibility of industrial action.

The Labour Court has recommended a pay award of 8.75% over three years.

Unions at the company had argued that they had contributed to the company recovery from the recession through pay cuts, workforce reductions and cost reduction measures.

They had sought rises in line with the recent Luas pay award of 18.3%, which they calculate at 3.8% a year, and further increases to address the pay gap between Dublin Bus and Luas drivers.

However, Dublin Bus had submitted that its recovery was still fragile.

It said any increases must be in line with the recent recovery and address continuing inefficiencies that limited its capacity to compete in a challenging marketplace.

The court noted that the company's economic situation had improved particularly as passenger numbers were rising and fares had increased.

It awarded 2.75% a year for three years payable on 1 January in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

It states that this level of pay increase reflects the contribution staff had made to the company's recovery through cost-saving measures.

The court noted that Dublin Bus was prepared to engage on further improvements in pay and conditions through enhancing productivity.

It recommended that talks between management and each individual grade should commence as soon as possible to examine the prospects for improving productivity which could result in further pay rises.

The court also recommends that the additional contributions to the company pension scheme should be deferred until January next, when the contributions will revert to normal.

However, no staff member retiring in the interim will suffer as a result of the deferral of contributions.

NBRU General Secretary Dermot O'Leary said that he acknowledged the difficulties the Labour Court was presented with in deciding appropriate levels of pay.

However, he pointed to the eight-year hiatus since bus workers had last received a pay increase, and to the pay cuts that had been imposed during that period.

He said it was disappointing that the Labour Court had not awarded an increase in line with the 3.8% a year awarded to other transport sector workers including Luas personnel.

The NBRU, he said, had made it clear that they wanted similar treatment to bus and rail workers, and required the pay gap between bus and tram drivers to be addressed as a component of their pay claim.

While they respect the State industrial relations institutions, he said, their role in lending a voice to the frustrations of bus workers has to take precedence at this juncture.

He concluded by saying that while it will ultimately be for members to democratically decide whether the level of pay reward recommended is adequate, they cannot rule out the spectre of industrial action in the coming weeks and months should they reject this recommendation.

In a statement, the SIPTU Dublin Bus Traffic Section Committee said it has recommended to its members that they reject the Labour Court recommendations.

They said this was because the “recommendation fails to meet the aspirations of our members by a significant margin.

"Our members believe that the proposed flat annual increase of 2.75%, over the next three years, fails to recognise the productivity increases achieved and the cost saving measures introduced since 2008 by Dublin Bus workers. This is significant as the workers have not received any increase in pay since 2008."