Irish Republican News · May 17, 2013
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Bus strike ends as unions win concessions
Bus strike ends as unions win concessions

buseireannstrike.jpg

The threat of serious industrial unrest in the 26 Counties has receded following progress in public service pay talks and a separate deal to end a two-day stoppage early last weekend at the state-funded bus company, Bus Eireann.

The bus strike, thought to have cost up to half a million euro, was ended following a settlement at the Labour Relations Commission. The deal will see one fifth of the five million euro savings at the loss-making firm come from senior executives and management, including pay cuts of up to 6%.

The agreement states that shift and core pay will stay the same but overtime has been altered. The first two hours will be paid at a rate of 1.25 and thereafter 1.5 times. Increases in the working week from 36 to 39 hours and a reduction in annual leave by three days for the next two years will bring in more of the required savings.

The settlement also sees the uncertified sickness allowance for all staff cut to three days. Drivers’ annual leave will also be cut by two days over the period of the deal from June this year to January 2015.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said he hoped the deal could bring the bus firm back to financial health.

“The priority throughout has been to protect services for passengers, get the company back on a sustainable footing, and secure the jobs. I know that passengers across Ireland will welcome this deal in principle,” he said.

The strike had threatened to spread across the CIE national transport network with trade union Siptu warning that its members were prepared to walk out in solidarity with the bus workers’ union.

Bus Eireann has lost 27 million euro over the last five years due to the company’s failure to cope with increased private sector competition.

NEW ‘CROKE PARK’ DEAL

Meanwhile, ten unions that overwhelmingly rejected plans to slash the public service pay bill are said to be likely to agree to a new pay deal.

Trade unions have indicated progress has been made in the negotiations of ‘Croke Park II’ to replace the deal negotiated with the previous Dublin government in 2010, which is due to expire next year.

Its replacement could be announced as early as this weekend said a key talks mediator.

Gardai and health workers said more progress had been made over recent days than throughout the entire negotiations process in February, when government plans to cut 300 million euro from the public pay bill were overwhelmingly rejected.

Among the unions to vote against the original Croke Park II deal were Unite, Siptu, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (Asti), the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the Irish Medial Organisation (IMO) and the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU).

Public expenditure minister Brendan Howlin said the government will be prepared to strike side deals with individual unions on the cuts, due to be implemented from July.

© 2013 Irish Republican News