Crippling bus strike heads towards third week as talks continue

Crippling bus strike heads towards third week as talks continue
Day 13 of Bus Eireann Strike, at Capwell Bus Station. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THE bus strike that has crippled Cork's transport network is heading towards its third week.

Talks to resolve the dispute at Bus Éireann resumed at the Workplace Relations Commission today, as the strike entered its 14th day.

The dispute centres on cost-cutting measures at the company.

After initial talks yesterday, the focus today was on pay and how employees can contribute to the company's financial needs.

Yesterday, the focus was on drivers, specifically rostering and how proposed, more efficient work practices would impact on rosters.

Over the course of the dispute between the company and unions, cuts to premium payments and overtime have been at the forefront of the conflict and it is unclear as yet how a "consolidated" system of pay would address the concerns of workers while achieving the savings the cash-strapped company requires.

Yesterday, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has was happy that Minister for Transport Shane Ross has stood back from the dispute.

Day 13 of Bus Eireann Strike, at Parnell Place Bus Station. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Day 13 of Bus Eireann Strike, at Parnell Place Bus Station. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

"The WRC and the Labour Court every year deal with thousands of cases in relation to industrial relation," said Mr Donohoe.

"We're the Government of the day seen to be undermining those bodies it would have profound consequences for the ability of our state to deal with industrial relations in an ordered and effective manner.

He added: "As minister for Transport I dealt with several of industrial relations difficulties in relations to the CIE group, including Dublin Bus, including Bus Éireann not to mention the challenges that I had in relation to the Luas network.

"At no stage did I make any decision not to deal with industrial relations difficulties with the CIE group. To the best of my recollection, there were four different disputes in place when I was Minister each of which I dealt with in the same way as Minister Ross is now dealing with this matter.

"My record as Minister for Transport shows very clearly my willingness when necessary to deal with industrial relations issues," Mr O'Donohoe said, adding that this was being continued by Mr Ross.

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