Bus workers to take action against cuts

Bus workers to take action against cuts

DETAILS of wide-scale industrial action by Bus Eireann workers is set to be announced tomorrow.

Representatives from the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) confirmed last night that the specifics of the imminent strike will be made known to the public tomorrow afternoon.

Workers say they are being forced to take the drastic step after Bus Eireann introduced a raft of cuts which could affect their take home pay by up to 30%.

The company plans to cut workers' wages directly by 10% and also wants to slash premium pay by 80%, to scrap shift premium payments altogether, and further cut sick pay and overtime.

The proposed cuts are due to come into effect on February 20.

“It's an absolute, complete and utter attack on people's terms and conditions,” said John Moloney, a Cork bus driver and president of the NBRU.

“Whatever action is necessary to deal with this, we won't be found wanting.” 

Mr Moloney said he understands that Bus Eireann has been haemorrhaging money, particularly on its Expressway service, but said the company's proposals are not cost-cutting measures and won't help the company remain solvent in the long run.

“They bear no resemblance to what it actually necessary to sort the problem. It's just a wild swing at terms and conditions and it's not acceptable, it really isn't,” he said.

“Drivers are not paid excessively at all. The cuts the company is putting forward range from 23% to almost 30%. They're real figures. It's an absolute joke for a company to say it needs to implement cuts like that.” 

Any industrial action could also spread to other companies in the State transport sector such as Dublin Bus and Iarnród Eireann, which would effectively see the country's transport links grind to a halt.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has so far refused to intervene in the escalating situation while Bus Eireann has said the measures are necessary to ensure the company remains viable and to protect jobs in the future. 

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