Republican News · Thursday 17 February 2000

[An Phoblacht]

O'Rourke can solve bus dispute

Some 2,100 Dublin Bus drivers staged a one-day stoppage this week in pursuit of a 20% wage claim. The National Bus and Rail Workers Union (NBRU) made their claim for a wage increase last August and have deferred strike action twice over the last six months.

The bus drivers claim that they cannot get Dublin Bus management to respond to their claim. The NBRU says it has been available for negotiations at any time without pre-conditions. The drivers have agreed six productivity agreements since 1987 which have substantially reduced Dublin Bus's costs.

Dublin Bus has the lowest government subsidy of any industrialised first world state. The NBRU believes that this ``low subsidy has been subvented by Dublin Bus workers through low wages''.

Public Enterprise Minister Mary O'Rourke, speaking in Leinster House, said that she ``will be urging the parties to the dispute to enter negotiations''. She seems to have forgotten that she is the real employer of Dublin Bus workers and she could start the negotiations process herself.

O'Rourke also claimed that she was unaware of the subvention differences between Dublin Bus and the monies paid to bus companies in other European cities.

Apart from the fact that the information was in a letter sent to the minister by the NBRU just four weeks ago, it speaks volumes that O'Rourke was unaware of this important information.

The accompanying tables show the subvention rates in other EU cities and a comparison of the wages paid to Dublin bus drivers in other EU cities.

City Fares as a % of costs Government grants as a % of costs
Athens 27% 50%
Barecelona 58% 39%
Dublin 94% 6%
Helsinki 40% 55%
London 85% 15%
Paris 42% 58%
Rome 23% 74%
Strasbourg 50% 46%


Basic Weekly Bus driver wages
Paris 326 year 1
385 year 2
Stuttgart 321 year 1
340 year 2
Amsterdam 248 year 1
349 year 2
Brussels 278 year 1
315 year 2
Berlin 340 year 1
363 year 2
Copenhagen 385 year 1
423 year 2
Dublin Bus 204 year 1
270 year 6
Source: NBRU

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