Unions agree to attend Dublin Bus talks at WRC 'without precondition'

Unions agree to attend Dublin Bus talks at WRC 'without precondition'

Unions have agreed to attend talks at the Workplace Relations Commission for exploratory talks on the Dublin Bus pay dispute.

It comes after workers at the company held their sixth day of industrial action yesterday, with further stoppages planned for Tuesday and Wednesday as well as 11 more days in October.

This includes next Saturday, October 1, when Mayo will once again face Dublin in the All-Ireland Football final replay, which is set to impact more than 80,000 fans heading to Croke Park.

However, the National Bus and Railworkers Union say they have agreed to attend talks at the WRC tomorrow "without precondition".

General Secretary Dermot O'Leary said: "Whilst the request to attend at talks without preconditions is something the trade unions have long been calling for, the fact is that our members are extremely angry that the inaction to date by the company and the Department of Transport has caused severe disruption to commuters and staff alike.

"The NBRU focus from the commencement of this dispute has been geared towards getting Dublin Bus to attend at discussions in order to address the fact that its own staff are deserving of a fair and adequate wage rise after eight long years of austerity enforced pay stagnation and pay cuts.

"Any decision we have to take in relation to postponing our member’s industrial action is one which we will only consider after first establishing if Dublin Bus are serious about engaging in comprehensive discussions towards a resolution of this dispute on behalf of the 400,000 commuters and 3,500 staff."

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross has welcomed the announcement.

Mr Ross said: "I am pleased talks are due to take place between both sides at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), and we now need to give the relevant institutions space to formulate an agreement that is fair and workable for both sides."

Trade union Unite has welcomed the intervention, with their Regional Officer Willie Quigley noting that unions have consistently stated their willingness to engage without preconditions.

He said: “Dublin Bus workers, along with the travelling public, have been frustrated by the failure of both Dublin Bus and their shareholder, the Government, to engage meaningfully to resolve this dispute.

“Not only have our members received no wage increase since 2008, and been denied an agreed wage increase – they have also suffered a deterioration in their working conditions.

“Against that background, our members are determined to pursue their legitimate claims.

“We welcome the WRC’s intervention, and look forward to engaging tomorrow without preconditions.”

Siptu's Owen Reidy said: "We understand that the purpose of this initial meeting is to see whether there is the basis for a meaningful negotiation between the parties.

"Any decision as to whether the pending strike action by our members on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week goes ahead, or is cancelled, will be made by the union committee based on the progress, or otherwise, at tomorrow's initial meeting."

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