LRC 'hopeful' of resolving bus dispute; Unions looking for guarantees

LRC 'hopeful' of resolving bus dispute; Unions looking for guarantees
Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU.

Unions and management at Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann say they are hopeful crunch talks can avert a planned strike this weekend.

However, parties to the discussions at the Labour Relations Commission say they have a lot of work to do before a resolution can be reached.

After two hours of talks setting out a framework for negotiations yesterday, stakeholders in the dispute sounded more hopeful on their way in to the Labour Relations Commission this morning.

Trade unions representing bus drivers have called two more days of strikes for this Friday and Saturday, but are sitting down with representatives from Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus to try to agree a deal.

The LRC’s Chief Executive, Kieran Mulvey says they have a lot of work to do if the strike is to be called off.

Mr Mulvey said: "There is a lot of pent up tension, a lot of pent up anger regarding this, that was displayed last week by the employees.

"So it's not easy, it's complex, it's difficult but the commission is well used to being involved in these kinds of disputes and we always remain hopeful at the end of the day, that we'll be able to thrash out an agreement between all of the parties."

The row centres on Government plans to put one in 10 bus routes out to tender, with unions opposed to privatisation.

Siptu’s Owen Reidy says they will need proper commitments from the bus companies.

Mr Reidy said: "Ultimately it's job security. The situation we're up to now is both bus companies have not been in a position to commit and guarantee people's security of tenure, their conditions of employment and all the other issues related to that.

"At the heart of this is workers knowing what their future holds and we think if the NTA, the Department of Transport and both bus companies work with us, we should be able to achieve that, but there's a long way to go."

General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union Dermot O’Leary says having officials from the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport at the talks is helpful.

Mr O'Leary said: "Yesterday we were encouraged by what they had to say, their words were very positive, we need some action around those words, some detail.

"It will be difficult, but we're here to hopefully to get a resolution that will result in calling off the disputes."

The talks are expected to continue until tomorrow afternoon.

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