Date Released: 01 February 2017
SIPTU representatives have called on the Taoiseach and Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to accept that that the union should not be expected to enter talks with the management of Bus Eireann until it has removed its all its pre-conditions concerning changes and cuts at the company.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Willie Noone, said: “SIPTU wrote to the management of Bus Éireann on 17th January seeking a meeting concerning changes that the company were proposing to implement. The company never responded to that letter and subsequently announced a set of other changes that it was adamant were required. Management made it a pre-condition to meeting SIPTU representatives that the union accept the changes that they wanted.
SIPTU representatives would not and could not accept such a pre-condition as it would be an unacceptable dereliction of our responsibilities to our members and to the service users.
“From his comments today it would seem that Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, is unaware of the reason no engagement has occurred in relation to this dispute and who is responsible for that situation. The Minister for Transport has accused SIPTU of producing no reasons for not talking. He has also claimed that both sides have said they will talk without pre-conditions, which is factually incorrect.
“SIPTU representatives have stated that they will talk without pre-conditions but cannot engage with the management of Bus Éireann until it has stated that it will do likewise. All sides to the dispute should be committed to seeking a resolution. However, the Minister responsible for the public bus network is on one hand saying he will not get involved in the dispute but then appears to be a mouthpiece for the company.
“Rather than the company seeking to unilaterally impose changes to workers’ terms and conditions as well as slash their pay from the 20th February it needs to revert to the working conditions which were in place on the 16th January.
“Management has indeed recognised that many of the changes it has implemented are not working and reversed its position on some of them. What it must do now is schedule a date to meet with trade unions to discuss the proposed changes without expecting our members to accept, as a pre-condition, the destruction of their terms of employment and pay. Such a meeting must also discuss all issues of concern for our members.
“If the company carries out its threat to impose cuts on 20th February it will provoke a large-scale and intense campaign of industrial action.”