Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley TD says Government must work with bus unions to avert planned strikes by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann workers next month. Members of SIPTU and the National Bus and Rail Union have announced that they’re to hold two 48-hour stoppages on the 1st and 2nd of May and the 15th and 16th of May in a row over the privatisation of bus routes.
Deputy Dooley commented, “The Government, and Minister Paschal Donohoe in particular, needs to take whatever action is necessary to prevent these strikes from going ahead. The timing is particularly serious as it will affect tens of thousands of commuters, passengers and tourists on a busy bank holiday weekend. The fact that major rail engineering works are planned for that same weekend, resulting in the cancellation of a number of DART services and the closure of certain train stations adds to the imposition on travellers.
“Commuters are understandably annoyed at the prospect of another strike. A previous strike in August 2013 led to the cancellation of Dublin Bus services for three days resulting in major disruption and a loss to the Dublin economy of €4 million. The loss in revenue to both companies can also not be underestimated and could damage the future viability of these entities.
“The NBRU and SIPTU have identified serious concerns with the Government’s plans to privatise public transport services. The Minister has been unable to explain how the situation here would differ to what happened in London, whereby bus routes were privatised and the quality of service deteriorated significantly.
“The unions have raised valid issues. Our transport system is subvented by the taxpayer and all efforts must be made to ensure that this money is invested in improving and upgrading services to benefit passengers and not to generate profits for multinational corporations. The Government’s efforts to try and dismantle the public transport system is shameful and must be reconsidered, to stop these strikes in the first instance, but also to safeguard our bus and rail routes and services into the future”.