Bus companies facing pay hike demand of up to 20%

Drivers at Dublin Bus will today tell the Labour Court they want pay parity with Luas operators — meaning they are demanding a wage increase which could be up to 20%.

A similar claim is in the offing at Bus Éireann.

Last February, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) wrote to Dublin Bus telling it the Luas operation “would be an appropriate comparator by which the role of bus driver would be measured”. It said it had been eight years since bus workers had received a pay increase and that, during that time, ordinary everyday costs have risen.

At that point, the union said the pensionable rate of pay for both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann drivers is €32,547, while for Luas drivers the rate is €42,247. NBRU said that, when other pay aspects were taken into account, the gap in pay is in the region of €3,000 to €4,000.

However, the demand for parity with Luas workers was lodged in advance of last week’s proposed deal between Transdev, the operators of the Luas, and its staff, which will see pay increases of up to 18.7%.

While the Luas workers are being balloted this week on the terms of that deal, the NBRU has said its demand from the bus companies will have to increase in tandem with whatever the Luas drivers finally get.

The pay increase bus drivers are demanding will also have to include the 6% increase which, the union says, was not paid as part of the Towards 2016 social partnership agreement.

The Labour Court is likely to make a recommendation based on the positions taken by the driver representatives and Dublin Bus.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said that if the recommendation was not acceptable, the union would have to look at balloting for industrial action up to strike.

A spokeswoman for Dublin Bus said the company will be making a submission to the Labour Court today which “will outline in full our company’s position”.

Meanwhile, on the train network, where a pay claim of up to 25% has been lodged, the next flashpoint looks likely to be early April, when Irish Rail is to implement a 10-minute Dart service.

Sources have indicated the prospect of industrial unrest over the pay claim might be pushed further down the tracks if the roll-out of the more frequent Dart service on April 10 does not go ahead.

The rail company has said it remains in an extremely difficult financial position and in relation to the union opposition to the Dart frequency increase, it said: “We will only emerge from this by ensuring our business can grow in line with demand and through meeting our customers’ requirements.

“We will review how best to proceed to ensure we can meet those requirements at the earliest possible opportunity.”


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