24th February 2017
NOTICE TO MEMBERS
BUS ÉIREANN CRISIS UPDATE
Press Reports on Potential Legal Action.
Members may be aware of media reports over recent days with regard to possible legal action by the NBRU if Bus Éireann was to unilaterally cut the Contractual Terms and Conditions of Staff.
Those reports cantered around a letter the NBRU sent to Bus Éireann on the 14th February in which we set out the basis for such potential legal action.
Essentially there are two areas which we contend the Company may be, as it were, ‘offside’
● The Agreed (Contractual) Rates around Overtime, inclusive of Premium payment, Shift and Rota cannot be Reduced or Eliminated without the agreement of Staff (Unions). Unilateral Cuts are Legally Questionable.
● The 1986 Transport Act (from which Bus Éireann was formed) bestows certain protections on those Staff that possess ‘Letters of Comfort’ whereby their Terms and Conditions cannot, without agreement be less beneficial than those that existed prior to Vesting Day.
Bus Éireann Potential Insolvency.
The NBRU, over recent days have been fielding a number of quires in relation to the Bus Éireann Management claim that the Company will become insolvent in a matter of weeks.
At the outset let us say that we are not experts on Company Law, ergo the following assessment is strictly an Opinion and should not be relied upon as exact.
What could potentially happen if Bus Éireann were to end up in a situation where it actually became insolvent?
Our reading of the 2014 Companies Act would seem to indicate that the route open to the Company would be one which would involve the Board passing a Resolution to Wind up Bus Éireann .
Would the Board actually move in this direction?
Technically this is possible, politically it may be problematic, and the Unions Representatives on the Board would obviously vehemently oppose such a move.
However, if one was to listen to the language being promulgated by the Acting CEO over recent weeks one would have to deduce that the current regime at Bus Éireann might actually move in this direction.
Would this mean that Bus Éireann could be effectively be Wound Up?
Again, the answer is, technically yes, but there may be one significant hurdle in the way.
And what would that be?
The 1986 Transport Act says:
“(10) A resolution for the voluntary winding up of a company shall not be adopted unless resolutions have been passed by each House of the Oireachtas consenting to such winding up”
So, based on recent Private Members Motion in the Dáil, supported by all Parties and none, with the exception of FG and Independent Alliance, one could deduce that there might be some mathematical difficulty in getting sufficient numbers of TD”s to support such a Resolution in either house of the Oireachtas.
Insolvency arises when a company is no longer capable of meeting its debts. When a company becomes insolvent there are two options available:
All of the above require some form of resolution from the Board winding the company up which would have to be sanctioned by both houses of the Oireachtas. The only option would be for a court to wind up the company.
What is a compulsory winding up?
A compulsory winding up is when a Court orders that a company winds up. Management would have to prove that they can’t pay their bills. Our expert advice from the reading of their annual accounts would be a strong argument against this line of action and the NBRU would oppose any such application.
The NBRU has over recent days written to both the Department of Transport and the NTA to seek their participation in a Multi-stakeholder Forum, which we, and Trade Union Colleagues have consistently insisted is vital towards achieving an overall, sustainable resolution to the Bus Éireann Expressway Crisis.
We await response to same.
In the meantime Members can be Assured that The NBRU remains Resolute in Our Opposition to this Pending Attack on Bus Workers Reasonable Terms and Conditions.
If and when the New Management Regime at Bus Eireann unilaterally impose Cuts to Terms and Conditions, we will immediately place Official Strike Pickets on all Depots at which Bus Eireann carries out its business, inclusive of, Operational and Administration activities.
There will absolutely no Deviation or Movvements of Pickets, temporarily or otherwise, from any of those Locations until such time as the Dispute has ended.
Members will be Advised of any Developments, through Notices, nbru.ie and twitter.
Issued by the NBRU