Bus Eireann asks drivers to not overwork, Cork TD angry that Bus services disrupted

2 May 2017
By Tom Collins

Mick Barry TD

Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry claimed this morning that as many as 17 Bus Eireann service runs from Parnell Place had to be cancelled, or provided by private operators, on the Bank Holiday Friday because of a “ham-fisted diktat” by the board of the semi-state company.

The Cork North Central TD claimed in a statement this morning that “hundreds of commuters were left completely stranded” as a result of what he described as “utter incompetence” on the part of the board.

It is understood that the problems arose as a result of a diktat by the Bus Eireann national officer board that no driver work more than 48 hours from the start of the week leading in to the Bank Holiday.

The diktat caused particular problems in Cork where many drivers have traditionally worked more than 48 hours.

Deputy Barry said this morning: “If Bus Eireann national management thought they were implementing a clever cost-saving measure their plan backfired spectacularly. They will have to pay fines to the National Transport Authority for the timetabled runs they couldn’t deliver and will have had to fork out a pretty penny for the private operators they had to hire to cover some of the work. A child could have told them that the crude implementation of this measure had the potential to cause havoc. The new national management have no background or experience in running a bus company and the reality is that they shouldn’t have been let near one in the first place.”

Mick Barry said that the 48 hour diktat should be immediately withdrawn in the interest of preventing further “chaos” this week.

However, an EU directive – transposed into Irish law does limit a working week (on average) to 48 hours 

Cork North Central Solidarity TD Mick Barry has a history of supporting workers rights, his statement fails to mention if drivers are happy with working more than 48 hours in a week? It is possible that – had the Bus Eireann direction on maximum working hours not been issued by the company  – the same TD could have issued a statement complaining that drivers are being forced to overwork? 

The Working Time Directive 2003/88/EC, is a Directive of the European Union. It gives EU workers the right to at least 4 weeks (28 days) in paid holidays each year, rest breaks, and rest of at least 11 hours in any 24 hours; restricts excessive night work; a day off after a week’s work; and provides for a right to work no more than 48 hours per week. Since excessive working time is cited as a major cause of stress, depression and illness, the purpose of the Directive is to protect people’s health and safety.

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