Dáil debates

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Leaders' Questions


10:30 am

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

On Sunday public transport users are facing industrial action by hard-pressed Bus Éireann workers. As the Tánaiste knows, this action has arisen after 11 long months of deliberations, negotiations and protracted discussions between management, the Labour Court and workers. An impasse has now been reached. State subvention is down by about 15% of the company's turnover, cut dramatically under the Tánaiste's stewardship. It is the lowest level of subvention of any major national public bus company in Europe.

Workers should not be expected to subsidise the cut to the Bus Éireann subvention, and I and most people would have thought Labour in government would ensure this did not happen. The Tánaiste knows that strike action will cause considerable inconvenience to the travelling public who depend on Bus Éireann to get to work, to school and to college. The public is shocked at the apparent approval by the Minister of Bus Éireann's intention to unilaterally impose severe cuts in the pay and conditions of its workforce from Sunday next. Bus Éireann has outlined that it intends to target some €9 million of its €20 million savings target from the pay and conditions of its workforce. While Bus Éireann needs to make savings, the savings sought weigh far too heavily on the workers, who earn on average €33,000 a year. They have families and mortgages, and, like many in society, they are struggling. The Labour Court has stated that the very viability of the transport operator is under threat if something is not done, and that is accepted on this side of the House.

We know Fine Gael wants to privatise our public transport service, of which Bus Éireann is a constituent part. Where does the Labour Party stand on the privatisation of Bus Éireann?


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