Date Released: 14 May 2015
A 48-hour work stoppage by SIPTU drivers in Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, scheduled to begin on Friday (15th May), has been deferred following agreement between union representatives, management and Department of Transport officials.
The agreement was reached at talks facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), which concluded in the early hours of Thursday, 14th May.
The agreement deals effectively with the SIPTU six point agenda for decent work and the maintenance of good public transport services which formed the basis of the union’s engagement in the talks process.
The agreement includes;
An assurance that no current employee will be required to compulsorily transfer to a new contractor when 10% of bus routes are put out to private tender in 2016.
The introduction of a Registered Employment Agreement which will protect bus workers’ terms and conditions of employment.
An agreement by the National Transport Authority that the tendering process will be examined on the basis of the “most economically advantageous tender” and that labour costs will not be “the sole criteria”.
A statement by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe to the LRC that it is not the “intention of the Oireachtas” to tender the remaining 90% of routes after 2019 when the current contracts come to an end.
Under the agreement, private operators will also have to comply with proposed legislation protecting public service provision and the terms and conditions of transport workers or face sanctions, including possible loss of contract. It was also agreed that public transport companies will not have to carry any legacy costs arising from the tendering of routes to private companies.
SIPTU Construction and Utilities Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “We believe that if all sides honour their obligations and work collectively in a progressive way there will be no need for further industrial action.
“This agreement vindicates the SIPTU approach to this dispute. From the start we have been focused on the future of public transport. We have always wanted to protect decent jobs in the sector and reach agreement on a number of policy issues.”
He added: “These issues have been dealt with in this agreement, which if implemented in good faith, provides a solid basis for the future of a public transport system that benefits both workers and the general public.
“We have always been of the view that the SIPTU six-point agenda had to form the basis of the future for public bus services and we believe this agreement ensures this is the case.”