Latest: Bus Éireann CEO 'willing to hear proposals' as staff announce all-out strike

Update 6pm: Bus Éireann's Acting CEO Ray Hernan has said that the company is "more than willing to hear any alternative proposals they have for achieving savings of €30m" after unions announced plans for an all-out strike earlier today.

The company stated that it will not put pre-conditions on any talks "that will assist in addressing the current financial crisis to ensure the long term viability of the company".

Mr Hernan stated that "the necessary efficiencies must be found within the company because it is a long term solution and not a short term fix, which is required".

Bus Éireann has now begun consultation with the National Transport Authority in an effort to maintain connectivity for customers.

"Given that it has been clarified by the Minister for Transport that no funding can be made available for commercial services, Bus Éireann believes it is imperative that talks commence urgently to protect the long-term future of the business, which today marks its 30th anniversary as the largest national transport provider in Ireland," the company stated.

Transport Minister Shane Ross also expressed his disappointment at the announcement.

He stated: “A strike will be very damaging to the travelling public, the workforce, rural communities and the company itself.”

He renewed his call for both the company and the trade unions to engage in negotiations, without any preconditions.

Minister Ross added: “Through the WRC or Labour Court, the State can assist both the staff and management in discussions to resolve this dispute”.

Update 4.09pm: An umbrella group representing five trade unions involved in the Bus Éireann dispute has announced that its members are to strike in February.

The Bus Éireann Trade Union Group said that the all-out strike will begin on February 20.

“Bus Éireann have had ample opportunity over the last 48 hours to positively respond to requests from all trade unions to withdraw the preconditions of pay cuts contained within the correspondence from the company of January 18 and 27," a statement from the group read.

"The representatives of all trade unions met today to consider what course of action would be appropriate in response to this appalling attack on semi-state workers.

"It was clearly felt that Bus Éireann, by setting out on a course for major confrontation with workers, have also decided to ignore the wishes of the majority of those democratically elected to Dáil Éireann, not to unilaterally impose changes without the agreement of from its own staff.”

The group went on to say: “Our representatives have today decided to engage in an all-out strike, effective from the February 20, 2017 in response to this appalling and unprecedented attack.

"It remains a matter for Bus Éireann to decide if it wants to run the risk of bringing travel chaos to bear on the communities it is obliged to serve, or enter meaningful talks with the trade union group without preconditions”.

Earlier:

An all-out strike at Bus Eireann is looking increasingly likely after February 20 as unions at the company meet to discuss their plans.

Bus Eireann has written to staff saying it will impose pay cuts of around 10 percent from that date.

Unions are meeting to consider their response to the cuts, but the two biggest unions; the NBRU and SIPTU say industrial action is inevitable.

Speaking to Newstalk radio Greg Ennis, an organiser with SIPTU, said if the company proceeded with "unilateral cuts to terms and conditions ... SIPTU could not see beyond all out strike from February 20."

His comments come just hours after the government experienced yet another defeat in the Dáil this lunchtime when it failed in a bid to amend a Fianna Fáil motion, demanding intervention in the Bus Éireann dispute.


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