Over 400,000 Dublin Bus customers face a third day of travel disruption as staff at the company continue their strike over pay.
With no sign of any intervention that could break the deadlock between management and workers, union representatives will meet later today to decide whether to escalate their industrial action.
Dublin Bus has urged staff to attend the Workplace Relations Commission for negotiations but stressed that it cannot exceed the three-year 8.25% pay deal, with no productivity, awarded by the Labour Court.
However, it is prepared to discuss further increases based on productivity.
Unions are demanding a basic increase of 15% over three years before they will discuss productivity, and object to what they call preconditions.
Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said the Government will not fund pay hikes.
Yesterday, speaking to RTÉ News, Mr Ross said: “It’s not a matter for the Minister for Transport and we are not going to produce the Government’s – the taxpayer’s – chequebook to sort this problem”.
“This problem will be sorted between the unions and the management and we’re not going to be a soft touch for either management or unions.”
Union leaders will meet this morning to decide whether to escalate their industrial action.
An all out strike has not been ruled out though sources suggested additional one or two day stoppages are more likely.
Dublin Bus has said each day of the strike costs the company “in excess of €600,000”.
“We remain willing and open to engage with the Trade Unions and urge them to return to talks as provided for in the Labour Court Recommendation, so that we can work together to move forward and find a resolution to the current dispute,” Dublin Bus said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the National Council for the Blind has said people who are blind and visually impaired, and completely dependent on public transport, are being seriously affected by the strike because they cannot simply decide to drive or get on a bike as a means to get to where they need to go.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Elaine Howley said many people are being forced to take annual leave because they cannot get to work, while others will be unable to leave their homes.
“We did a survey recently and 91% of people surveyed depend on the bus for their daily activity so it’s very inconvenient to say the least,” she said.
Ms Howley also said that while other people can consider alternatives such as trains or trams, they are “not available to everybody. People who are blind and visually impaired need to know the route. You know, you can’t just get up and say I’ll do something completely different today.”