Irish Times: Pre-Christmas action unlikely as Dublin Bus drivers vote for strike: “Meanwhile, Siptu has served notice of industrial action on Irish Shell on behalf of 65 clerical, managerial, supervisory and administrative grades employed in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork. The union accused the company of attempting to impose change without agreement which would result in a worsening of employment conditions for its members. Pickets are planned from Thursday.”: Saturday 12 November 2005
Chris Dooley, Industry and Employment Correspondent
Drivers in Dublin Bus have voted to take industrial action if the company introduces rosters designed to cut down on overtime.
The threat of a pre-Christmas strike receded yesterday, however, when the company said the rosters would not be introduced next month, as had been planned.
It said it would hold further talks with unions with a view to reaching agreement by the new year.
A spokeswoman for the company said it had no choice but to introduce the rosters to bring it into compliance with an EU working-time directive which limits the working week to 48 hours.
Unions, however, want the company to compensate drivers for the loss of overtime income.
The National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU), which represents half the company's 2,400 drivers, said yesterday members had balloted by a majority of more than 10-to-one to take industrial action. Its Dublin Bus branch committee would meet next week to decide what type of action it would take.
However, NBRU general secretary Liam Tobin said there would be no action as long as the proposed new rosters were not implemented.
The company spokeswoman said unions had been informed two weeks ago that implementation of the rosters would be postponed until after December 4th to allow time for more talks.
Mr Tobin said this information had not been communicated to the NBRU. Siptu, which represents the remaining 50 per cent of drivers, welcomed the postponement of the new rosters as "a step in the right direction".
However Michael Halpenny, Siptu national industrial secretary, said the company should not underestimate the difficulties involved or believe there was a "quick-fix solution".
Dublin Bus said between 12 and 15 per cent of its drivers availed of overtime.
The company could not compensate them for loss of earnings as it would have to hire additional drivers when the new rosters came in.
Mr Tobin said many younger drivers had families and mortgages secured on the basis of their income including overtime. Some would be in danger of losing their homes if they suffered a significant drop in income.
Meanwhile, Siptu has served notice of industrial action on Irish Shell on behalf of 65 clerical, managerial, supervisory and administrative grades employed in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork.
The union accused the company of attempting to impose change without agreement which would result in a worsening of employment conditions for its members. Pickets are planned from Thursday.
Shell expressed disappointment at the "surprise move" given that the parties were due to meet at the Labour Court next week.
It said it was working on plans to ensure that the impact of any industrial action on customers was minimised.
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