The Bus Éireann strike entered its 20th day on Wednesday this week without any sign of conclusion.
Talks resumed in the Labour Court yesterday morning (Wednesday ) in an attempt to find a resolution to the strike, which has disabled the country’s transport network for the last three weeks.
On Tuesday of this week and after 16 days of intensive negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission, talks broke down without agreement.
While progress was made and agreement was reached to eliminate many work practice inefficiencies, an offer made by the company that would help to deliver financial viability was rejected by the trade unions representing the driver grade.
The unions referred a number of issues to the Labour Court and Bus Éireann agreed to attend.
Speaking early this week, Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Robert Troy, said the decision to refer the dispute to the Labour Court is a sensible one.
“The industrial action has been ongoing for nearly three weeks and some 100,000 people right across the country have been left without a transport service,” he said.
“The decision to refer the dispute to an early hearing of the Labour Court is a sensible one given the enormity of the situation. There is a real prospect that Bus Éireann may be forced to enter into administration in the coming days should the dispute remain unresolved. This would be a disaster for passengers, workers and Bus Éireann as a company.
“There is an onus on both unions and management to proactively engage with the Labour Court and give firm commitments that they will accept its final ruling.”
Deputy Troy was again critical of Transport Minister Shane Ross’s hands-off approach to the issue.
“Minister Ross continues to refuse to convene parallel talks between all stakeholders at Bus Éireann with the aim of overcoming the deep structural problems facing the company,” he said. “It’s a sad state of affairs when the Minister for Transport has no thoughts or potential solutions to help overcome the most destructive transport strike to hit the country in decades.”