Republic of Ireland news

Travel during Pope's visit may be threatened if pay rise not received by Bus Éireann staff

Bus Éireann drivers could object to the increased journeys if it seems as though they will not receive a pay rise of almost 4 per cent
Áine Quinn

BUS Éireann drivers may refuse to co-operate with plans to offer extra services for Pope Francis' visit next month, if they are not given a pay rise.

Union sources revealed to the Irish Independent, that the bus drivers could object to the increased journeys if it seems as though they will not receive a rise of almost 4 per cent.

General Secretary of the National Bus and Railworkers' Union, Dermot O'Leary, said that industrial action may be planned.

SIPTU official Fran McDonnell said: "We feel it's high time that staff within Bus Éireann should be in receipt of a pay rise. They've had an extraordinary number of years and a lot of pain has been felt by all grades of staff."

With 500,000 people expected to attend Mass at Phoenix Park and a further 40,000 to visit Knock shrine, any refusal to co-operate with plans of extra bus services could severely impact people's travel plans.

Talks are due to begin today at the Workplace Relations Commission on a review of wages.

In March and April 2017, Bus Éireann held industrial action during a dispute over pay and working conditions.

Thousands of commuters were affected by the strike which lasted for three weeks.

Pope Francis will visit the Republic on August 25 and 26 as part of the World Meeting of Families, an international event held by the Catholic Church every three years.

It will be the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass with over one million people in Phoenix Park in September 1979.

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