Dispute rooted in policy choices and requires political solutions
Underlying issues have implications for future of public transport
March 24th: Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly today called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene urgently to ensure resolution of the current dispute at Bus Éireann, the safeguarding of jobs at the company, and Bus Éireann’s future as a public transport entity. Unite represents craft workers at the company.
Pointing out that the subvention levels to Bus Éireann are not only low compared to other European countries, but have been slashed by 22% in real terms since 2009, Mr Kelly said that the issues underlying the current dispute have implications for the future of Ireland’s public transport system as a whole..
“It is not good enough for the Government to adopt a hands-off approach. This dispute is rooted in policy choices and requires political solutions.
“In addition to increasing the subvention to European levels, Bus Éireann needs to be fully reimbursed for operation of the free travel scheme and Expressway should have non-profit-making stops recognised as a public service and subsidised through PSO monies.
“Both unions and the travelling public need to be reassured that Bus Éireann is not being used to open the door to creeping privatisation, not just of Bus Éireann but of the other CIE companies.
“Our members were particularly concerned this morning to hear the National Transport Authority seemingly encouraging passengers to use private operators. As the authority responsible for securing the provision of public transport services, the NTA’s job is to ensure – working with other stakeholders including unions – that Ireland has a public transport system equal to the best in Europe.
“Taoiseach Enda Kenny now needs to come out publicly and send a clear signal that the Government is committed to the future of Bus Éireann and the other CIE companies as providers of high-quality public transport and decent jobs, and is prepared to make the necessary investment in that future. He also needs to make it clear to the company that the WRC has a central role to play in resolving this dispute and must not be sidelined.
“Bus Éireann workers are committed to providing a high-quality service to the travelling public. It is time for An Taoiseach to demonstrate that he shares that commitment, and act accordingly”, Jimmy Kelly said.