Bus drivers call off strike but only for 48 hours as talks get underway with management
Normal service is restored as Transport Minister urges settlement
Ireland’s bus strike is off and normal service has resumed – but only for 48 hours as unions and management begin talks to resolve their issues.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has appealed to both sides to reach a deal after chaos on Sunday and Monday.
Student bodies have warned that college kids run the risk of missing exams if the dispute continues.
And tourism bosses have warned of the damage to Ireland’s reputation if the national service is crippled again after the 48 hour truce expires.
The Irish Independent reports that the dispute between Bus Eireann and the National Bus and Rail Union centres on a $7million cost-cutting plan which included slashing allowances, overtime and shift payments.
The strike action hit almost 100,000 passengers and has already cost the state-owned transport company $300,000 a day.
Buses are expected to run as usual on Tuesday and Wednesday as the talks get under way.
Bus Eireann spokesman Andrew McLindon said: “We welcome the fact for the sake of our customers that we would get back into service as quickly as we can.
“We hope to operate as many city, commuter, inter-city and provincial services as we can from early in the morning.
“Intense discussions will take place over the coming two days to try and get agreement on the cost-savings laid out in the Labour Court recommendations.
“It is absolutely critical for the future of the company that the savings are achieved.”
Ireland’s Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly has also welcomed the breakthrough.
He said: “We would all like to see services resume as quickly as possible and that the 48 hour window that has been created as a result of discussion can yield a longer-term solution.
“This has been and continues to be a very difficult dispute for all sides. The coming days can be used to make sure the company remains viable.”
Union boss Michael Faherty told the paper that they had moved to suspend the strike as the company agreed to sit down with the trade unions last night.
Faherty said: “We had been looking for that for the last three or four days.”
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