Talks between Bus Éireann and unions have broken down once again, with the threat of strike action looming.
Talks held at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Monday, March 13, were unsuccessful despite seven days of engagement.
NBRU released two statements about the disintegration of talks and another accusing Bus Éireann of having ‘corporate amnesia.’
In its notice to members, NBRU stated: “The Trade Union’s position, as articulated to Bus Éireann management through the WRC, is that we were prepared to engage in an extensive efficiency based agenda, within a concentrated timeframe in response to the Expressway crisis.
“The NBRU maintains its position that it will not countenance immediate cuts to members take home pay or cuts to terms and conditions. The company position is that it will consider its position and revert in due course.”
Bus Éireann also released a statement on Monday explaining that it was disappointed with the talks: “Given the seriousness of our financial position, we always had a very tight timeframe to implement actions but we nevertheless engaged in good faith to facilitate intensive discussion, with the aim of reaching a negotiated settlement with trade unions.
“Despite their public pronouncements about engaging on addressing the high level of inefficiencies, there has been no flexibility shown during our engagement on efficiency measures.
“While inefficiencies have been acknowledged and accepted by unions, there was a refusal to accept any reduction of earnings, including unnecessary overtime earnings.”
However, General Secretary of NBRU, Dermot O’Leary, hit back at the operator and accused Bus Éireann management of entering in, ‘the 11th hour’: “Bus Éireann stand accused of having had a sudden attack of corporate amnesia in relation to how take-home pay has historically been constructed at the Company, it is a bit rich of the new management team to enter the arena at the 11th hour and seek, in one fell swoop, to address a crisis that has been over two years in gestation.
“The fact of the matter is that all of the agreements that cover the take home pay of its own staff have been previously agreed through the tried and trusted collective bargaining mechanisms, between the representative Trade Unions and the management, some of which are now attempting to rewrite history.”