The first is that wages should be determined by "fairness" through some sort of system of central planning. So we think about a nurse or a bus driver or a banker, decide what that job is "worth", and pay that. It's clearly nonsense in the general case, since that would require communism. So the principal retreats to those areas of the economy in which competitive forces are not in play, i.e. the public sector. There are still several obvious problems, such as there being no way of determining what nurse vs train driver should earn, but more importantly even non-competitive areas of the economy compete for labour with other countries and other competitive parts of the domestic economy. So we have a recruitment crisis in hospitals because apparently we're not paying enough to attract internationally-mobile consultants. It's simply impossible to remove the idea of wage competition in an open economy, regardless of the competitive status of the employer.
So the reality is that the only workable system is for employers to compete for staff and for those less-demanding jobs which have a surfeit of labour supply to end up paying less.
That said, embedded in our society is the fairly reasonable restriction that you shouldn't/can't reduce people's wages in nominal terms because people have sticky financial commitments and it plays havoc with their lives.
So if wages are sticky on the downside, but competitive at the margin, you end up with new entrants getting a better or worse deal than incumbents. This is entirely reasonable trade-off, and the alternatives are worse.
The problem with the public debate is that nobody actually talks about these fundamental issues.
The unions freely admit that they don't give a fuck about grand economic arguments and they're simply responsible for getting the best possible deal for their members using whatever means possible.
Management plead poverty, I've no idea why - it's a stupid basis for argument. They should simply admit that their job is to pay people as little as possible just like everyone else on the planet, because that's how capitalism works.
The public take sides based on how inconvenienced they are, how hard they think the job is, or any other irrelevant factor.
The politicians sit on their hands afraid to damage their re-election prospects by taking a position.
Where are the genuinely 'competitive forces' at play in any part of the Irish economy? Nowhere is where....indeed a modicum of self awareness would tell you that you're actually contributing to a forum that provides a decades worth of testimony to this very fact.
The unfortunate truth appears to be, that in 2016, people who continue to promote this type of 20th century economic spiel are either one of two things..... brainwashed true believers too old to amend their belief in what is now little more than an article of faith (despite reams of evidence to the contrary), or an agenda driven team member sent out to bat for the powers that be....with the agenda being the ultimate destruction of living standards of the working people of Ireland and further concentration of wealth in the hands of the already wealthy.
If you want to create an arena within which such matters could be addressed in a more reasoned, more civilized manner you would first need to address the underlying costs that cause the necessity for high wages to begin with. Think land and property prices for a start. After that, think banking bailouts. After that, the Republic of NAMA (code name for the bailout of the professional (non-bus driving classes of south county Dublin in the main)). After that, tax avoidance by multi-nationals (and now foreign owned vulture funds) well as by high net worth individuals.
Deal with each of these issues as well the cartels across other (professional) spheres as pointed out by another poster above, and then you can come seeking to address 'largesse' in the pay of Dublin bus drivers. Until then, you haven't got a leg to stand on.
Indeed, given all those other more pressing, more serious, more ignored issues above, the choice to come after the likes of unionised bus drivers is shown to be exactly what it is....simply another attack on the working people of Ireland.....essentially war by stealth.....