Unions prepared to talk if Bus Eireann withdraws letter setting out cuts

The National Bus and Rail Union has said that it will attend talks over cutbacks at Bus Éireann if the company withdraws previous correspondence setting out the cuts.

It comes after the Acting Chief Human Resource Officer for Bus Éireann, Ken Bryan, sent a letter to unions urging them to attend talks to avert strike action on February 20.

The company announced unilateral cuts to all premiums for staff starting on February 20, affecting sick pay, overtime and Sunday rates.

Mr Bryan's letter said: "We recognise that agreement will only come through negotiation and all sides have to be willing to compromise in order to find a solution. For our part we have always been willing to engage without pre-conditions and we would urge the Trade Unions to do likewise."

Dermot O’Leary of the NBRU has stressed that the union has not set any pre-conditions on future discussions, and said that the company's financial crisis was caused by flawed policies.

Mr O'Leary said today: "Let me abundantly clear from the outset of any intended discussions in relation to the flawed policy induced crisis at Bus Éireann , the NBRU has not set any preconditions on any future discussions with any of the Stakeholders involved in both creating or ultimately resolving the issues at the core of this debacle.

"The world and his mother is more than aware that the correspondence from Acting CEO, Mr Ray Hernan, 18th & 27th January to both staff and trade unions contains a barrier to initiate any discussions towards a potential resolution."

Bus Éireann has said that it will not withdraw Mr Hernan's letters.

Siptu has also said it will engage in talks if the pre-conditions are removed.

Siptu's Willie Noone said: "In order to facilitate the earliest possible engagement, the company must as a matter of urgency rescind the contents of its letters of 18th and 27th January, which indicate that our members' pay and conditions will be arbitrarily changed on 20th February.

"The company must also accept that agreement must be reached on the issues outlined to it in a letter from SIPTU of 17th January, which it is yet to respond to. Once the company has fulfilled these necessary steps we can confirm our willingness to engage accordingly."

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