Unions have criticised Dublin Bus for cutting short tonight’s services, ahead of a 48-hour strike by drivers which comes into effect at midnight.
The company has confirmed its service will end at 9pm “to ensure the safe and secure return of buses to each depot prior to the commencement of industrial action by all employees at midnight”.
However, unions claim the drivers had committed to completing their shifts, even if it meant returning buses to garages after the strike starts at 12.01am.
The action relates to staff demands for a pay increase in excess of the 8.25% over three years recommended by the Labour Court. The unions rejected the recommendation and indicated they want 15% over the same period as well as the payment of a 6% increase, due from 2008.
National Bus and Rail Union general secretary Dermot O’Leary said Dublin Bus seemed determined to unnecessarily ratchet up the pressure on its own customers to make alternative arrangements at short notice so as to paint its own staff in a bad light. “It is nothing short of incredible that the company and its paymasters would resort to such chicanery,” he said.
“They would be far better served if they saw fit to come back to the table and engage with staff in order to prevent this dispute.”
Owen Reidy, Siptu divisional organiser, said the intransigence of the company and the Department of Transport meant there was a risk Dublin Bus would enter a “long and damaging period of industrial conflict”.
He said: “Since our members overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action last month there has been no engagement with the Department of Transport or Dublin Bus management, apart from a one-hour meeting.
“At that meeting, management simply informed our union representatives it was not willing to improve on the terms of a Labour Court recommendation which had already been categorically rejected by our members.”
Dublin Bus has said the 48-hour stoppage means the Ghostbus Tour is cancelled today; no Dublin Bus routes, sightseeing tours or Airlink services tomorrow and Friday; and Nitelink services will not operate on Friday night/Saturday morning.
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