Ellis calls for public to support bus strikes against privatisation
Sinn Féin TD and Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis has called on the public to show their support for Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann workers who will be taking strike action in May. Deputy Ellis said that the strike action was part of a major campaign against privatisation of public transport which would damage services and hurt the public in the long run. His comments follow the announcement by SIPTU members in Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus to strike after management refused to meet with workers to discuss their concerns at the proposed privatisation of 10% of routes across the state and 100% of Waterford routes.
Deputy Ellis said:
“Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann provide an essential service to the people of the country. We need to show our support for workers who are fighting for the survival of these companies against a government campaign of privatisation which will see large multinationals companies with no interest in anything other than their profits taking routes from public transport companies rooted in our communities.
“These strikes as planned will, of course, cause major disruption to many people. but it is the fault of this government that have rammed through their plans as part of a wider agenda to bring private profit companies in to undermine publicly owned groups. I am asking people to look at the bigger picture; this is a fight for public services that we depend on and the workers of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann deserve our support in this fight.
“Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are traditionally some of the lowest funded public transport companies in Europe, yet they have managed to survive the economic crisis and are on their way to returning to making a surplus with yearly increases in passenger numbers. Privatisation of these vital services costs the public more, with the danger of even higher fares and the reality that private operations require even more government subsidy while providing lower wages and worse conditions. In other cities where bus services have been privatised, the companies which take over demand even more money from the public purse in order to provide the same services as were previously done by public transport companies.
“The government must roll back on its privatisation plans and implement a real investment programme in public transport which will ensure the best, most efficient publicly owned network.”