Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Robert Troy TD has said every effort must be made to assist workers and management at Bus Éireann to engage on the financial problems and restructuring proposals at the company.

Deputy Troy made the comments after unions confirmed this evening that they will commence an indefinite strike from 20th February next if management proceed to implement pay restructuring without agreement with workers.

“Restructuring of the cost base at Bus Éireann cannot be done unilaterally, and cannot be implemented without agreement with unions and workers,” said Deputy Troy.

“Bus Éireann workers have played a hugely positive role in delivering improved public transport services in recent years. These improvements have been delivered with fewer resources under difficult circumstances. It’s important that management recognise the sacrifices that have been made by workers and strike a fair and proportionate deal with them.

“A strike will not be in any party’s best interests, least of all the workers at Bus Éireann. Indefinite stoppages will deepen the financial problems that the company has to overcome. This is why constructive engagement and compromise has to happen. The Workplace Relations Commission must be at the disposal of both parties.

“There is no one silver bullet to the crisis facing Bus Éireann, but its problems are amendable to solutions. The solution to financial problems at Bus Éireann will have to involve a mix of corrective actions by the company itself as well as on the policy side, by the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport.

“The company’s financial problems are partly related to Government policy – especially with regards funding for the Free Travel Scheme and current route licensing practices.

“The Government is also a primary stakeholder in the Company itself and has a role in approving plans put before the board by management. This means that the government must be, and is, intimately involved in formulating a solution to the company’s financial difficulties.

“Any attempt by Minister Ross to simply wash his hands of responsibility for finding solutions to the crisis is simply not credible,” concluded Deputy Troy.