Mr Ken Bryan
Acting Human Resources Manager
15th March 2017
Re: Trade Union Position WRC Discussions/ Media Reports
I refer to the above and the apparent confusion in relation to the Trade Unions position on the WRC discussions which concluded on Monday evening last, without agreement.
For the record, ascribing, or laying the blame at the door of so-called militant shop stewards, is an appalling insult to those ordinary decent individuals who put themselves forward to represent their peers across the grades.
It should be noted that the undersigned was not party to any ‘sources’ feeding the media such a pathetic and pitiful, if not lazy line.
That said, Bus Éireann, from Board level and certainly through the senior management team are, it would appear confused as to what exactly what the Trade Union position is in terms of addressing the flawed Government Policy induced crisis.
The discussions on Monday evening did not conclude without agreement based on any demands made by the Trade Unions.
However, it should be equally understood that advancing a position that workers would take an immediate cut to earnings in the middle of a negotiating process, designed to work towards resolving all of the issues that has led to the Bus Éireann Expressway Crisis, is not conducive towards achieving a resolution.
What is particularly objectionable to our members across the clear majority of the Grades is this notion, just because earnings, and let’s be clear here, we are talking about take-home pay, is based on, basic pay, overtime pay, premium pay, shift pay and rota pay, that it somehow makes it easier, to target such payments every time a crisis visits Bus Éireann, 2009 and 2013 being the most recent examples.
It is of course noteworthy that managers do not have to experience such attacks to their not inconsiderable earnings.
The NBRU is previously on record as stating that we will not entertain a direct cut to contractual ‘core’ terms and conditions. However, we did indicate that we were, without prejudice to this position, prepared to look at alternative payroll structure, similar to those currently operating at Iarnrod Eireann , incorporating all the different payments outlined above.
We remain prepared to look at how such a structure might operate, given that it may be of benefit to our members and may result in preventing any future targeting of the various payments which go towards making up a week’s wages.
That said, it has been requested of the NBRU to set out its position in response to the potential (Bus Éireann Statement) to further engage in time-limited talks.
The following represents the NBRU position across the grades we represent:
• There is a recognition that the Payroll is circa €133m.
• There is a recognition that significant savings are required to be derived from the €133m.
• There is a recognition that the spread of Earnings across all Grades is broad-ranging and may require to be condensed into a more manageable paradigm.
• We have previously stated our commitment to address a broad range of inefficiencies which have developed across the Grades
• We recognise that these efficiencies may impact on some of our members.
• It is recognised that any reduction in payroll that is necessary due to the eradication of inefficiencies may result in some staff not retaining a similar earning capacity into the future, any losses that may be incurred can be addressed as a component of any potential discussions.
• We will however, insist that Bus Éireann will continue to provide reasonable and Industry Leading Terms and Conditions for its Staff.
• It is recognised that it may be that the headcount may require to be reduced through the implementation of such efficiencies.
The NBRU will as a matter of course expect that any such reductions will be factored into an agreed Voluntary Severance Programme.
It is important to note that the Grades we represent will not enter an overarching agreement, until they see clear and indisputable evidence that the burden of change is carried equally and proportionately across all Grades, they will insist on having clear sight of what it is the Company have planned for the significant cohort of Managers at the Company.
Such a plan (Managers) should show demonstrable evidence that this group will burden share, we will not sign-off on any arrangement in the absence of such a commitment.
It should be clearly understood that the NBRU, in advancing the foregoing is doing so to publicly demonstrate our bona fides with regard to resolving this crisis.
We do however, remain of the view that an overarching and sustainable solution can only be achieved through the participation of all the Stakeholders in a facilitated forum, where the crisis inducing issues such as Government Policy and legislation can be addressed.