Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann: â€œThis industrial action is not a legal disputeâ€
The Chief Executives of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann declared this evening that the two day strike being actioned at midnight by Siptu and the NBRU is not a legal dispute.
Management have been forced to take unprecedented action and will now pursue a legal challenge for financial loss, including the damage to our reputation and good standing.
This dispute is illegal and is totally without justification.
The unions were today presented with ample opportunity to address all of the issues within an agreed process at the LRC. They chose not to engage in a meaningful way and decided to walk out, without giving management an opportunity to address their concerns.
The management of both companies are now obliged to pursue this line of action to protect the future interests of the business, which sustains thousands of employees.
It is critical to underline that management of both companies are not taking action directly against their employees, but are however seeking to recover losses from the two unions, NBRU and SIPTU, for taking what we believe is not only a reckless, but illegal action.
This evening, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann have issued legal letters to both Trade Unions informing them of the move to seek compensation for losses to include compensation for reputational damage.
We will shortly issue proceedings in the High Court. To prevent this action, we have urged the unions to desist in carrying out this unlawful strike action.
Notes to editor
Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann have been involved in discussions in the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) since July 2014. These discussions also involved the National Transport Authority (NTA), The Department for Transport Tourism and Sport, Bus Éireann and the Trade Unions. The discussions in the LRC broke down on March 30th 2015, when the Trade Unions withdrew from these discussions. The Trade Unions requested a final meeting on April 14th to make progress on the issues raised above, and both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann indicated that we were available to engage in any discussions regarding these matters and requested the Trade Unions re-engage in the LRC process. The unions did not take up this offer.
On Tuesday, 28th April, Minister for Transport Pascal Donohoe gave a substantial guarantee which underpins the discussions which have been taking place in the Labour Relations Commission over the last nine months.
As a result of this commitment:
• There will no requirement for Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann employees to transfer to other bus operators.
• Because of the growth in passenger demand, the legacy cost issue does not arise.
• There will be no change to the terms and conditions of any employee.
Today, the LRC issued an invitation to all sides for exploratory talks, which was taken up by the management of both bus companies and the unions. However, despite our willingness to address the issues raised, the unions walked out of these talks and will proceed with a two day strike.
Both companies have, at all times, engaged fully in the LRC process and has not, at any point, refused to meet the Trade Unions, however given that the issues had been dealt with in detail as part of the LRC process, we firmly believe the LRC was and still is the correct forum for further engagement. The Trade Unions to date have not agreed to re-engage in that process.
Thursday, 30th April, 2015