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Dublin Bus cost reduction plan Labour Court hearing

17 April 2013

TSSA along with the other unions attended Labour Court 15 April 2013 over the Dublin Bus cost reduction plan.

The chair of the Labour Court heard submissions from the TSSA, other unions and the company. The TSSA reiterated that a more forensic inspection is required of Dublin Buses financial position and that the goal of achieving a significant surplus of €15.9m by 2016 is over ambitious and relies disproportionately on payroll costs. We believe more input should be made at looking at non-payroll costs and the impact of the fuel rebate. We believe a more balanced approach of payroll and non-payroll costs can be achieved.

The TSSA told the court it is our view that the proposed cost reduction plan would lead to the erosion of the terms and conditions of our members in Dublin Bus to a severe detriment both financially and in access to a reasonable work life balance.

We informed the court that TSSA as a union must act to protect the terms and conditions for the present and for future generations of workers. We feel it is inherently unfair to constantly target our members at Dublin Bus to fill a funding gap. We can therefore not accept the proposals in their current form from Dublin bus.

When TSSA started negotiations with Dublin Bus the union took into consideration the very real pressure that our members were facing and the additional charges that the government is looking to impose on working people as listed below:

• Property Tax
• Water rate charges
• Increase in college fees
• Increase in fuel prices
• A report by the consumers Association of Ireland point to an increase of 12% over the last 24 months in a typical shopping basket
• Increase in solid fuel/gas/coal
• Inflation currently at 2.1%
• Septic tank charges
• Negative equity
• Mortgage/rent arrears

We reminded the court that our members current terms and conditions were hard fought and won by their predecessors and the union movement. The TSSA membership has taken the view that we cannot give up these terms and conditions without a fight.

We further stressed to the court that the government has announced an extension of the excise duty relief on fuel (fuel rebate) to passenger operators, cutting about 7.5 cents off the price of a litre of fuel. This along with better management of overtime and other work practices should be able to deliver savings without going after terms and conditions that impacts significantly on our members take home pay.

As a trade union, we have a responsibility to defend the interests of our members and working people. This proposal in its current form is an attack on our members terms and conditions. The proposal so that our members work longer but get paid less is totally unfair and unjustifiable particularly in an environment that is seeing your household budget being squeezed to breaking point.

We are also concerned that as part of these proposals we have not been given any assurances that these measures would be temporary or indeed if further cost reduction measures would not be sort further down the line.

TSSA requested that the court recommend that the company’s proposals be set aside to allow for a more in depth investigation of the financial situation. This would allow space to look at fairer alternative proposals to deliver savings from payroll and non-payroll items with the view of agreement on measures to deliver financial stability for both the company and our members.

The Labour Court after taking on board all the submissions from the company and the unions instructed that they would make a recommendation. Not timeframe was given, other to say that it would be done in a reasonable time. As soon as the recommendation is released we will let the members know.



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