Unite warns of dangers in ‘unprecedented situation’
January 19th: Unite, which represents craft workers in Bus Éireann, today warned that the actions of management are putting the company’s future at risk. The union’s Regional Officer Willie Quigley was speaking following a letter to unions from management issued yesterday and released to the media in what Mr Quigley described as the “latest episode in management’s PRs assault on the company’s workers”.
“For over a week, our members have had to hear their employer’s plans leaked to the airwaves and the national press. This is an unprecedented situation in industrial relations terms, and management’s behaviour is particularly disappointing in a company which describes itself, in the letter issued yesterday, as a ‘premium employer’.
“The decision to issue yesterday’s letter to the media, with its horrendous implications for the jobs, terms and conditions of many staff, was just the latest episode in management’s PR assault on Bus Éireann workers.
“In my view it will propel our members into a ‘ballot for industrial action’ situation as, having refused to engage at the Labour Court before Christmas, the company now wants our members to accept more hits on top of a nine-year pay freeze. In addition, these demands are being made in the absence of any engagement with the unions since the leaking of the Grant Thornton report. Eight days after it was provided to the media, the Company has still not issued that report to us – yet they expect the unions to sign up to a package of cuts and changes as a precondition for meeting with us next Tuesday.
“Our members’ patience is being exhausted. They will take whatever steps are necessary to resist this behaviour.
“Mr Hernan’s letter correctly notes that the key objective shared by all is to ensure the future of Bus Éireann. However, management’s unprecedented behaviour over the past while is putting that future at risk. Workers and their representatives deserve better of Bus Éireann: they deserve to be treated with respect as equal stakeholders.
“All unions in Bus Éireann will be consulting on how best to defend our members and protect the vital public service provided by the company and its workers”, Mr Quigley concluded.