As dispute escalates, Unite says workers and public paying price for “persistent Government disengagement”
September 19th: Following last week’s announcement of an escalation in the ongoing industrial action at Dublin Bus, trade union Unite – which represents craft workers in the company – said that workers and the public are paying the price for what it termed “persistent Government disengagement”. Unite today published figures showing that the Government subvention to Dublin Bus fell by 32.6 per cent since 2008, and is well below the level of other major European cities as a percentage of total revenue.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said:
“The hands-off approach to this dispute adopted by Transport Minister Shane Ross reflects the policy of persistent disengagement adopted by successive Governments which have slashed the subvention to Dublin Bus by €28 million, or a staggering 32.6 per cent, since 2008.
“Dublin Bus workers, the travelling public and the Dublin economy have paid the price for this disengagement.
“To reach the European average, the subvention to Dublin Bus would need to rise from its current €57.7 million – down from €85.6 million in 2008 – to €230 million.
“Minister Ross needs to emerge and intervene in this dispute and, in the medium term, commit to increasing the subvention level to that in other major European cities”.
Unite researcher Michael Taft added:
“The chronically low level of investment in Dublin’s public transport, which is at the root of this dispute, imposes substantial economic costs on businesses and workers. Dublin is already ranked the 6th most congested city in Europe. The Government may believe it is saving money by squeezing the subvention to Dublin Bus but all it is doing is transferring the cost on to the economy, which literally burns money as people and businesses are stuck in traffic. We need a substantial rise in investment in public transport to ensure that Dublin remains competitive and sustainable”.
Willie Quigley said:
“Our members are committed to providing a public transport service comparable to that in other European cities, and they have been heartened by the support and understanding shown by members of the public during this dispute.
”Last week’s decision by the unions involved to announce additional stoppages at the end of September and during October reflects our members’ frustration at the ongoing lack of engagement from Dublin Bus and the Minister”, Willie Quigley concluded.