Tens of thousands of commuters in Dublin will today use bikes, taxis, cars, and any other mode of transport to get around as a 48-hour Dublin Bus strike begins.
The industrial action by driver unions is expected to affect in excess of 400,000 Dublin Bus customers today and tomorrow, with further strikes set for September 15/16, and September 23/24.
Retail Ireland has estimated those using Dublin Bus services account for 42% of all retail spend in the city.
“Cutting off such a vital service will undoubtedly have an impact on city centre footfall and trading levels during the industrial action,” said Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke.
“On foot of the recent Luas strike and the disruption resulting from the roadworks as part of the Luas Cross City project, retailers can ill afford any further disruption to trading.”
There had been calls for the bus lanes to be opened up to all users for the duration of the strikes to ease the anticipated extra congestion.
However, gardaí confirmed that lanes would continue to operate as normal.
“Although Dublin Bus services will not be operating during this time, bus lanes will continue to be used by other public service vehicles, emergency service vehicles, and cyclists,” said a Garda spokesman.
“An Garda Síochána therefore wish to remind motorists that all bus lanes will operate as normal during operating times.
“An Garda Síochána recognise that the public will face difficulties, therefore commuters are encouraged to plan ahead and identify alternatives forms of (public) transport on the day. Traffic is expected to be extremely heavy on commuter routes, especially during morning and evening peaks.”
The strikes are over pay. The unions have rejected a Labour Court recommendation of an 8.25% rise over a three-year period.
They have demanded increases of 15% over the same period as well as the payment of a 6% increase dating back to 2008.
The National Bus and Rail Union also said it wants its members to have pay parity with Luas drivers, who recently secured increases following strike action.
Dublin Bus has said while the 8.25% rise is still on the table and it is willing to pay above the recommendation in exchange for new productivity measures, it does not have the financial resources to fund a pay increase otherwise.
The company is facing financial penalties of €200,000 from the National Transport Authority for failing to provide services on the strike days.
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