Talks could start to help resolve 11-day-old bus strike

Talks could start to help resolve 11-day-old bus strike
Members of SIPTU and the National Bus and Railworkers Union on picket line duty outside the Bus Eireann station at Parnell Place in Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

BUS Éireann drivers entered day 11 of their strike today.

While there is no sign of an immediate end to the dispute, it is understood that the Workplace Relations Commission will this week invite unions and Bus Éireann management to talks.

Two previous rounds of negotiations at the WRC have ended unsuccessfully.

In a boost for commuters, though, there was no repeat of Friday's unofficial stoppage by Irish Rail workers this morning.

Train services ran as scheduled, with many criticising the wildcat action over the weekend.

The CIE group, which represents Dublin Bus and Irish Rail, has indicated that it may seek compensation from the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) over Friday's morning's action, which it described as 'unlawful picketing', as the two companies are not party to the current dispute.

The wildcat action was described as 'regrettable' by Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Speaking on RTÉ's Marian Finucane show, Ms King said that the unofficial stoppage may slow down the resolution.

Ms King also backed Transport Minister Shane Ross for not intervening to date.

"I would say that, in terms of the actual industrial relations issues, the last thing you'd need is Shane Ross walking in there," she said.

"I'd say he knows about as much about industrial relations as you could write on the back of a cigarette packet."

The impact of the ongoing bus strike is being keenly felt throughout the city and county, though.

Many city centre businesses have been particularly vocal about the impact of the strike on trade, calling on Mr Ross to intervene in the dispute.

Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath has also called on Mr Ross to set up parallel talks to address the wider issues facing Bus Éireann.

He said such a move would create confidence and pave the way for a resolution to the dispute.

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