30 March 2017
Bus strike – Transport Minister should do his job, Mary Lou tells Dáil
Bus strike being prolonged by Fine Gael/Independent Government as Trojan horse for privatisation
THE BUS ÉIREANN dispute – “the biggest issue facing transport in this state” – suits the privatisation agenda of Fine Gael and Transport Minister Shane Ross who is refusing to intervene, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has told the Dáil.
The all-out strike by
Shane Ross “needs to do his job, get involved and help to bring this dispute to a fair resolution,” Mary Lou said during Leader’s Questions on Thursday.
“Nobody is suggesting that there are not problems to be addressed at Bus Éireann” but the Transport Minister “is attempting to exploit these problems as a Trojan horse for privatisation”, she added.
“The reality is that continued chaos, worker strife and public anger suits the aims of Minister Shane Ross and the Government.
“He is seeking to manufacture a false context in which can ultimately blame the model of public ownership for the crisis at Bus Éireann.
“His goal is to make public ownership the fall guy and the present a sell-off as the grand solution.
“Nobody is suggesting that there are not problems to be addressed at Bus Éireann. However, the Minister is attempting to exploit these problems as a Trojan horse for privatisation.
“It is a political hoodwink. It is not in the best interests of citizens.
“It is in the interests of private investors who will only see our public transport operator as a cash-cow.
“Minister Ross needs to wake up and realise that his agenda is creating hardship for workers and havoc for passengers.”
Workers at Dublin Bus and Irish Rail are due to ballot next week for industrial action to protect conditions, pay and jobs from unilateral cuts by management as Government abdicates any responsibility, stands by and watches:
SIPTU Sector Organiser Willie Noone said:
“They believe that they are next in the firing line if management in Bus Éireann is allowed to force through cuts to wages and changes to conditions of employment of their staff.”
SIPTU Transport, Energy, Aviation and Construction Division Organiser Greg Ennis told a transport workers rally at the Dáil on Wednesday that was supported by Sinn Féin:
“The state must provide a public bus service and not a for-profit bus service. It found €64billion for the banks and global investors who lost their money through gambling and greed but it can’t find €9million for a bus service that the rural people of Ireland depend on.”
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