Bus Éireann is to begin implementing cost cutting measures in the coming weeks, according to a statement released this week by the company.
Talks between Bus Éireann and the unions representing its employees at the Workplace Relations Commission broke down on Tuesday last week. A statement release by the company in the wake of that meeting accused the unions of being unwilling to negotiate or compromise on any issue.
This was followed on Monday this week by another statement from Bus Éireann stating the company’s intention to push ahead with proposed cost cutting measures, which include unilateral pay cuts, redundancies, and the closure of certain depots and routes. This includes the closure of the Athlone to Westport service, set to be implemented in early April.
“Due to the perilous state of the company’s finances and the failure to reach agreement with unions at the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC ) last week, the board of Bus Éireann considered the matter in detail at its meeting today and approved proposals for immediate cost savings to be implemented from Monday, March 6,” the statement read.
“These measures are vital to ensure that the company remains solvent, and can continue to trade as a going concern. The company must deal with its challenges directly, and the board have a duty to ensure Bus Éireann is financially sustainable and therefore must take the necessary steps to secure this.”
The statement added that further dialogue aimed at resolving these challenges “would be welcome”.
In response, the NBRU and Siptu both said their members would be left with no option but to commence strike action this coming Monday if the company presses ahead.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross has welcomed Bus Éireann’s willingness to undertake further discussions, but fell short of saying he would engage with both parties.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Transport, Robert Troy, says that Minister Ross must urgently engage with unions and management to help prevent a damaging strike.
“Minister Ross must urgently set out what contingency plans he has in place to deal with this crisis and to ensure that no further loses are incurred at the company.”