Each day without operating services has estimated cost of €600k as firm struggles to make €11.7m cut
Strike action at Dublin Bus began over the weekend and continued into Irish Bank Holiday Monday as all services were cancelled due to industrial action by staff and pickets at the gate.
The loss of public transport over one of the busiest weekends for local events and attractions has drawn heavy criticism from the economic sector. The strike has likely caused significant damage to the economy as tourism, shopping, sporting and social events were left inaccessible over one of the busiest weekends of the year.
Dublin Bus has proposed significant cutbacks in a bid to cut costs. It has been advised by Dublin’s Labour Court it must make an annual reduction of €11.7m in order to remain viable. After 14 months of negotiating the terms and requirements for implementing the cuts Dublin Bus remained at loggerheads with the union and has decided it could wait no longer. While all parties involved agree the need for talks is paramount there appears to be no sign of any return to negotiation between Dublin Bus and the SIPTU union.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar told Irish TV news the Dublin Bus strike was counterproductive. The industrial action was targeting people in Dublin for whom there was no alternative to public transport in many cases. He was also worried about prolonged action, which he felt would threaten the jobs of people in Dublin who don’t have the job security or protection that Dublin Bus workers do.
Although uncertain at time of publication, if the strike runs into Tuesday (August 6) it could affect up to 400,000 commuters. Colleagues in the National Bus and Rail Union are now pledging their support for SIPTU members and also to strike in support. Each day without operating services is costing Dublin Bus around €600,000.
The Irish Transport Minister has been asked to intervene but is adamant nothing can be done while drivers fail to realise there is no more money to give to Dublin Bus. He said the €11.7m cuts had to be implemented and urged them to re-enter negotiations.