THERE is a relief in Limerick after Bus Eireann and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) announced Monday’s strike action has been deferred.
It was announced this Friday afternoon that the nationwide strike action, called after the bus firm’s board signed off on what are believed to be €12m worth in cuts, had been suspended for the time being.
Both Siptu, and the NBRU, which is the drivers main union, had planned the all-out indefinite action from Monday, but both unions have now issued statements saying they will suspend the action after a request from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Talks to resolve the dispute will kick off on Monday, it is anticipated.
Independent councillor Frankie Daly, who chairs the transport committee, said: “Common sense has prevailed” – but also warned “there is a long way to go”.
Both SIPTU and the NBRU had planned an all-out indefinite strike at the company from Monday but the two unions have this afternoon issued statements saying they are suspending the action after a request from the WRC.
Talks to resolve the dispute are now planned to start on Monday.
The state bus company runs seven regular bus services covering the city and its surrounds, as well as other irregular services covering rural Co Limerick.
On top of this, there are twice hourly services to Shannon Airport.
“There now needs to be meaningful dialogue from both sides. But this is a boost for Limerick commuters, particularly with the bad weather we are now expecting. We’re in for a rough spell over the weekend and into next week. I absolutely welcome this. It’s a step in the right direction. But i’d urge Transport Minister Shane Ross to take a hands on approach to this. This is people’s lives and livelihoods, terms and conditions and fairness we’re talking about here,” Cllr Daly told the Limerick Leader.
In a statement, Bus Eireann warned the financial situation at the bus firm remains “critical”, and the firm could close by May if action’s not taken.
“To facilitate meaningful discussions with unions, Bus Eireann management have today accepted a new invitation by the WRC to seek a solution,” a spokesperson confirmed.
As a result of this, Bus Eireann will defer the implementation of changes it had planned to bring ijn from Monday.
Among other things, this would have seen the Limerick to Dublin X12 Expressway service being reduced in frequency.