2 April 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Trade union Unite, which represents craft workers in Bus Éireann, has called on Fine Gael and Fianna Fail TDs in Cork city and county, including Ministers Simon Coveney and Michael Creed and Ministers of State Dara Murphy and David Stanton, and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, to step in to protect Cork public transport. With the Bus Éireann dispute in its tenth day, the union urged the TDs to exert pressure on Transport Minister Shane Ross to intervene so that resolution to the dispute can be achieved through dialogue and engagement among all stakeholders.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said:
“Whether commuting from Macroom to Cork or using the Cork city bus service, the people of Cork depend on Bus Éireann to provide a vital public service – a quality service delivered by workers deserving of decent Terms and Conditions of Employment.
“Fine Gael TDs and Ministers, and Fianna Fail TDs who are tied in to Government policy through the ‘Confidence and Supply Agreement’ with Fine Gael, have a particular responsibility to their constituents. The crisis facing Bus Éireann has its roots in political choices made by successive governments: falling subventions, the failure to fully reimburse Bus Éireann for Free Travel, and the refusal to allow Expressway – as a commercial entity – to operate on a level playing field.
“It is clear that a dispute rooted in political choices require a political resolution, and Unite is calling on TDs supporting the Government to step up in order to protect the public transport on which their constituents rely.
“They need to demand that Transport Minister Shane Ross start doing his job by intervening to bring Bus Éireann back to the negotiating table. And in the medium term they need to pressurise the Government to develop a sustainable Public Transport Policy which serves the interests of the travelling public and the workers delivering the service.
“Opposition TDs in Cork and elsewhere have been putting sustained pressure on Minister Ross. Now, TDs supporting the Government must follow suit and put the interests of their constituents first.
“This is not just a national issue: It is an issue that politicians in Cork and every other county should be up in arms over. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail TDs need to start treating it as such”, Mr Quigley said.