Whether or not tomorrow’s bus strike goes ahead, causing chaos for thousands of commuters, lies solely now with the Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, according to Fianna Fáil Transport Spokesperson Timmy Dooley.
Talks aimed averting the strike action by SIPTU and NBRU members have ended at the Labour Relations Commission without agreement.
Deputy Dooley commented: “The Transport Minister needs to shelve plans to privatise the core Dublin Bus network and end the imminent strike action, which is due to begin at midnight. Tens of thousands of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann passengers are facing a major travel headache as members of SIPTU and the National Rail and Bus Union stage a 48 hour work stoppage.
“There are only hours to go until this strike action begins but instead of attempting to find a solution with the unions, Minister Paschal Donohoe is sitting back and refusing to take charge of the situation. The assurances he has given only serve to further undermine the financial viability of Dublin Bus or Bus Éireann and prove that this process is driven by ideology and not sound economics.
“The concept of privatising core public transport routes is deeply flawed and will prove detrimental, not only for the workers themselves, but also for the travelling public who stand to see price increases and deteriorating services. We must continue with the principle of a publicly owned, publicly operated transport network to ensure the best possible service for consumers and reasonable conditions for workers.
“It is not too late for the Minster to prevent the impending travel chaos. Minister Donohoe and the National Transport Authority need to pull back from the brink and give assurances that their privatisation agenda will be halted and the public transport system will remain fully owned and funded by the State.
“In the event that the Minister is still intent on proceeding down this route he should at the very least make the necessary order to open up the bus lanes to public use to minimise impact on commuters and ensure planned works scheduled for this weekend are deferred for the moment.”