Minister Ross AWOL on Dublin Bus strike – Munster
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Transport, Imelda Munster TD, has today called for support for the Dublin Bus workers who commence two day strike action tomorrow. Deputy Munster has stressed the need for all stakeholders to sit down together to negotiate a fair deal, including Minister for Transport Shane Ross.
Munster raised the fact that Dublin Bus returned to profit in 2014, yet the company is claiming that it cannot afford to increase workers’ pay by 15% over three years, as the unions have asked for in their pay claim.
Deputy Munster said:
“Since members of the transport unions voted for industrial action a month ago, there has been no engagement with the Department of Transport or Dublin Bus management, other than an hour long meeting.
“We need all the stakeholders to sit down together to negotiate a fair deal. This includes Minister for Transport Shane Ross. Where is he in all this? When is he going to intervene in an effort to resolve it? He has a duty as Minister for Transport to work with both sides in an effort to find a satisfactory resolution
“Dublin Bus profits are up, passenger numbers are up, revenue and fares are up. It seems that the Dublin Bus workers are the only ones who aren’t benefitting from this turnaround in Dublin Bus.
“Workers’ pay has remained stagnant for 8 years, despite being promised a 6% rise during the last partnership deal in 2009. They have endured several cost cutting measures, including a cut in overtime payments, a reduction in staff numbers and a 13 hour working day on some duties. Nobody can say that Dublin Bus staff have not genuinely contributed to making Dublin Bus profitable again.
“The subvention to Dublin Bus has been slashed in the past few years to the tune of €45million. Dublin has one of the most poorly subsidised public transport systems in the EU. Lyon’s public transport system receives 79% public funding, Amsterdam is at 61% whereas Dublin only receives a subvention of 27%.”
Munster also raised the matter of Dublin Bus shutting up shop at 9pm tonight, despite a commitment by bus drivers to complete their shifts, even if it meant returning their buses to the depot after the strike had officially begun.
“This is petty and vindictive. It would serve them better to sit down in further negotiations with the bus workers unions.
“Dublin Bus’s intransigence runs the risk of provoking a long and damaging dispute. Nobody wants that. It’s not fair on workers, on the public or on Dublin Bus.
“This strike is very important from a workers’ rights perspective. We can’t have a race to the bottom on this issue. We need to start ensuring we put fairness for the ordinary working man or woman back into society. It could be any one of us next.”