Mr Ken Bryan
Acting Human Resources Manager
3rd March 2017
Re: Letter to Trade Unions 27th February & Proposal to Close Route X7 and the Consequential Knock-on Effect to Staff Currently Operating this Service.
I refer to the above and our concern in relation to the selective focus on both Bus Drivers and Supervisors as outlined in correspondence from Acting CEO Hernan on Monday last.
This letter, similar to those of the 16th, 18th and 27th January is considered by our members to be a hostile act of deliberate provocation.
There’s an old maxim, it’s called, be careful what you wish for, it may just happen.
In this case it would appear that confrontation is what is desired. To consciously choose such a course of action is as appalling, as it is irresponsible.
What else can be deduced from the following?
(a) The inclusion of the Closure of Route X7 in the Letter issued by Acting CEO to Trade Unions on Monday 27th February.
(b) The proposal, (issued locally) to effectively sack Bus Drivers who joined Bus Éireann over 12 months ago on the premise that they were joining a State-owned Company that would provide secure and sustainable employment, similar to that provided to thousands of others throughout the generations.
(c) The proposal (issued locally) to force redeployment of Bus Drivers from Clonmel to Waterford.
I am aware, through various media reports, that efforts appear to be underway to ascertain if a basis can be found to enable the WRC to call in the parties in advance of Mondays All-out Strike, called in response to Bus Éireann’s intention to impose unilateral and non-agreed changes to longstanding Collective Agreements on the Driving and Supervisory Grades.
The NBRU for our part made it known through long established ‘back channels’ that we would find it extremely difficult to re-enter facilitated discussions when a number of financially impactful measures had already been imposed, without agreement.
That said, we did indicate, all things being equal, that we would be prepared to engage, despite the chasm which exists between the parties, we took this decision in the best interests of staff and commuters alike.
However, the intervention by Local Management in Waterford, facilitated by the Acting CEO’s Letter from Monday last to sack a number of Bus Drivers from the 11th March and forcing others to redeploy, has opened up yet another, and potentially insurmountable obstacle towards any potential re-engagement at the WRC.
The NBRU has the utmost respect for the Industrial Relations Institutions of the State, we fully support the absolute necessity to have access to mechanisms that lend support to workers, particularly in times with disputes between staff and employer become intractable.
Those institutions have, on a number of occasions, intervened, and have, as it were saved the day, allowing vital transport services to continue for the benefit of those that rely on public transport for their travel needs.
The NBRU remains available to engage should those institutions choose to request our attendance, to assist in preventing what has the potential to become an extremely debilitating National Transport Dispute.
However it is we feel, reasonable for us to expect that Bus Éireann, in the interests of the staff, who find themselves in the unfortunate position of being placed, as it were, under the Sword of Damocles, and the thousands of commuters that rely on the X7 Service from Clonmel to Dublin, through Grangemockler, Callan and Kilkenny, would suspend the decision to scrap this Route from the 12th March, should third party intervention become a reality.
Such a decision would of itself be consistent with the age old industrial relations tradition of placing difficult measures to one side to allow for the development of potential solutions to difficult disputes.
Copy/ Ms Onagah Buckley Chief Executive WRC
Ms Anna Perry Director of Conciliation WRC
Mr Jackie Cahill TD
Mr Seamus Healy TD
Mr Mattie McGrath TD
Mr Michael Lowry TD
Mr Alan Kelly TD
Ms Kathleen Funchion TD
Mr Bobby Aylward TD
Mr John McGuiness TD
Mr John Paul Phelan TD
Mr Pat Deering TD