Lawyers for Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann filed a plenary summons with the High Court yesterday afternoon against its two driver unions for the losses it faces as a result of last week’s strikes.
Ahead of the stoppages last Friday and Saturday, the companies had warned the unions, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union, they would seek compensation from them for loss of earnings, fines imposed by the National Transport Authority for failure to provide the service as well as compensation for reputational damage.
Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus said the action purported to be in compliance with Section 8 of the Industrial Relations Act, 1990 but it was not a trade dispute as it was against plans to tender out 10% of public routes to private operators which was a decision of the National Transport Authority and nothing to do with the companies.
Yesterday’s lodging of the plenary summons will be followed in the coming days by the submission of a detailed statement of claim.
Five more days of stoppages are planned by the two bus companies over the rest of this month. The next will be a 48-hour stoppage on May 15 and 16.
As the legal action against Siptu was lodged by the bus companies, it emerged another transport company, Aer Lingus, has withdrawn its case, valued at up to €3m, against the union over threatened action in March 2014.
At that point the union announced a strike by its members over a failure to address a €700m deficit in the workers’ pension scheme, the Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme.
While the strike did not go ahead, the airline said it lost millions of euro through cancellations and the need to put contingency plans in place.
It moved to sue Siptu and its pensions policy adviser, Dermot O’Loughlin.
However, it has now emerged that the legal action was withdrawn so that it would not impact on the discussions required to find a solution to the problem of the pension deficit.
A deal was reached which will see the airline pay €190m towards the pensions of its current and former staff. Approximately three quarters of active employees at the airline have so far signed waiver forms accepting the terms and €123m of the €190m has been paid out.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved