Donohoe welcomes bus strike call-off but danger of strike remains

25th February, 2009

Fine Gael Seanad Transport Spokesman Senator Paschal Donohoe has welcomed the decision by the NBRU and SIPTU to call off their industrial action but said the underlying problems must urgently be addressed by the Government.

“This is a crisis averted, but not solved. I very much welcome the decision by the NBRU and SIPTU to call off their planned strikes. A bus strike in Dublin would have brought the city to a grinding halt, causing massive
disruption to citizens and costing businesses millions of euros in lost trade. However, the underlying problems which prompted this situation remain firmly in place and we may be facing a transport crisis again in a few weeks.

“Commuters and passengers still face the alarming prospect of losing bus routes and services as part of cutbacks at Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. These cutbacks have come about because the Government dragged its heels for years about essential reform of the bus market. Years of Fianna Fáil inaction produced a situation where the two bus companies are planning to lay off hundreds of staff and cut services in order to stay afloat.

“I hope that the Labour Relations Commission talks will provide a solution and ensure that we do not find ourselves in this situation in a few weeks’ time. But until the Government introduces genuine reform in the bus market, allowing private operators to run routes alongside Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann, passengers will remain an afterthought and the city’s public transport market will remain woefully inadequate.”