Latest: SIPTU rejects 'horrendous and totally unacceptable' Bus Éireann plan

Update 9.37pm: SIPTU members have rejected a plan presented by the management of Bus Éireann to workers this evening, according to sector organiser Willie Noone.

Latest: SIPTU rejects 'horrendous and totally unacceptable' Bus Éireann plan

Update 9.37pm: SIPTU members have rejected a plan presented by the management of Bus Éireann to workers this evening, according to sector organiser Willie Noone.

The union condemned the proposal as "a blueprint for the destruction of the company as a viable organisation".

SIPTU's Willie Noone, said:"As has been the practice of management throughout the last few weeks these proposals were aired in the media prior to staff being informed of them.

"The plan presented to workers today is horrendous and totally unacceptable.

"Management should remember that a mandate for industrial action has already been attained from SIPTU members.

"Such action will be activated in circumstances where the company proceeds to implement plans that would effectively erode the conditions of employment that have been attained by our members over the last number of decades.

He added: "The credibility and motives of the new management of Bus Éireann has to be seriously questioned when it is offering to pay some employees 1%, 2% or 3% of a rise, on reduced incomes when cash flow allows, in return for them accepting a real pay cut of up to 30% now.

"This offer is both crass and stupid and it will get the reaction that it deserves from our members."

Earlier:

Management at Bus Éireann have outlined a programme of major cuts to avoid insolvency, in return for a pay rise for staff at the company.

The reform programme include cuts to workers' premium payments and allowances and reductions in temporary staff.

They have offered staff an average pay rise of 2% a year for four years if the reform programme is fully implemented.

The National Bus and Rail Union slammed the "insulting" pay rise "when the threatened cuts contained in the correspondence are in order of 25% plus".

In a letter to staff (below), the transport company's acting CEO, Ray Hernan, warned that they will go out of business if they do not deal with their financial difficulties.

The proposals to keep the company afloat include:

* The Sunday Premium payment of 100% will be reduced to 20%.

* Rota and Shift premium payments will be eliminated to reflect competition.

* Overtime rates will be reduced to time and a quarter and double time for Public holidays.

* A general reduction in allowances. While this may vary from item to item, we are seeking a 10% cut overall.

Staff will also have to accept redeployment and what he calls reasonable changes to roles and responsibilities.

Mr Hernan says the company will also seek to reduce or eliminate the number of temporary staff.

Where meaningful work is not available - or staff refuse reasonable alternative work or redeployment, they will be put on short time or layoff as appropriate.

He has also pledged to keep the Expressway division, to protect the maximum number of viable jobs, and to safe-guard basic pay.

The letter outlined that the terms of this offer will be subject to the following conditions:

* No cost increasing claims for the duration of this agreement.

* Industrial peace, no industrial action of any nature will take place, for the duration of the agreement.

* There will be full cooperation with all initiatives.

* This agreement represents full and final settlement of all claims.

NBRU General Secretary, Dermot O'Leary, said: "It is nothing short of scandalous that Bus Éireann would resort to attacking its own staff through cutting their wages to facilitate the Minister and his Department into becoming a reincarnation of Pontius Pilate in denying all responsibility for creating the Expressway crisis.

"Attempting to ensnare ordinary workers into a Labyrinth of political deceit is disgraceful, and clearly demonstrates the contempt that those who make policy, those that implement policy have for decent workers who go about their daily toil far, far away from where life impacting decisions are made.

"It is insulting to Bus Workers to suggest that a pay rise is available of up to 3% when the threatened cuts contained in the correspondence are in order of 25% plus."

Mr O'Leary said they have told management they will not accept the pay cuts.

He said: "We also advised that there was a real danger here that the transport infrastructure in this country could be forced into industrial turmoil if such an attack was initiated.

"The responsibility for this crisis goes way beyond industrial relations parameters, the fingerprints of a number of Government agencies are all over the crime scene here, the Department of Transport, NTA, NTMA and the Department of Social Protection have all had a part to play in forcing this once proud transport company to its knees; staff for their part had the perfect alibi, they were providing a public transport service for the citizens of the State.

"We will now arrange to meet with trade union colleagues over the next number of days to agree on a coordinated and united approach to this stomach-churning initiative."

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