Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Timmy Dooley TD, has criticised Bus Éireann for not following established industrial relations procedures in the current dispute with its employees.

Deputy Dooley commented: “It seems to me that Bus Éireann, with the support of the Government, has short-circuited established industrial relations procedures that existed previously between company management and employee representatives. Any changes in work practices must be achieved through appropriate consultation and agreement through a partnership approach.

“It also appears the company is trying to avoid the normal face-to-face interaction in the negotiating process that has previously being very effective. Bus Éireann is trying to bully the unions into the Labour Court before the basic dispute resolution avenues have been exhausted.”

Deputy Dooley added that Minister Varadkar must immediately consult with the board of Bus Éireann and direct that the proposed changes in work practices are postponed until the normal industrial procedures have been explored.

“This will ensure that unnecessary industrial action is avoided and passengers are not inconvenienced in any way,” said Deputy Dooley.

“The company’s decision, with the support of the Government, to undermine the union’s role in the resolution of the matter is particularly surprising considering the Labour Party’s so called influence in the Department of Transport.

“We recognise that CIE is under considerable financial pressure and Bus Éireann is no different. There is added competition in the transport sector, fuel costs are rising and passenger numbers are falling and subvention from the State has been reduced, however Minister Varadkar must be mindful of the need to maintain an appropriate integrated network of bus services.”