Support the Workers of Bus Éireann

Support the Workers of Bus Éireann


Due to pay cuts, a casualisation of work and threats of job losses an indefinite all out strike action was called by the workers of Bus Éireann. Despite claims by management that the financial difficulties the company is experiencing are the cause of the measures SIPTU Sector Organiser, Willie Noone states clearly the reasons for the strike:

“The real agenda of management at Bus Éireann is clear. Management wish to prepare the company for the future privatisation of public bus services by concentrating draconian cuts on ordinary workers. This so-called drive for ‘efficiencies’ is clearly due to pressure being applied on the company, as it stated in correspondence to workers yesterday that for it to retain directly awarded Public Service Obligation routes in 2019 it must become more ‘competitive’. What this means is that the company must be able to undercut private bus operators. Many of the employees of such private bus companies depend of state welfare payments to survive.
“Our members will not accept the destruction of a public service which is essential in connecting communities throughout Ireland.”

What this strike represents is an industrial dispute between workers and management, between privatisation and the protection of the workers, not only of Bus Éireann, but of all public services. The board of the statutory corporation Córas Iompair Éireann and Minister Shane Ross are driven by a need to make the company “competitive”. So often now do the bosses and their political allies use such phraseology during industrial disputes that its true meaning must be clear to all with a morsel of interest as to the welfare of the worker.

To “compete” is to lower the terms and conditions of employment, to attack pay, to lower staff and as a whole betray the economic interests of the working class in order to mirror the disreputable conditions of privately owned transport companies. This is the race to privatisation, under the banner of competition and the sloganeering of increased profit and alleviating unnecessary cost. This is undoubtedly a race but a race to the bottom, the profit of which management speaks will never benefit the workers , the unnecessary cost? Decent wages, job security and stability.

Republican Network for Unity send our solidarity to the striking workers and ask our supporters to join us in our support. We ask that the transparent despair feigned by political representatives and management are ignored. The workers recognise the effects such a strike will have in terms of inconveniencing the public and such action would not be taken lightly. The cause of this strike and therefore the rightful conduit for blame and public anger are those which refuse the input of workers in meaningful negotiation, those whom divorce the workers, in which the companies interests are directly their own, from an integral part in forming a plan which does not simply lower working conditions to compete with other companies which maintain an austerity of care and concern for the workers.

RNU view this dispute in its wider context, it is a battle for workers rights during an all out assault on public services, fears of sympathetic strikes by other workers in the transport sector are justified and offer a glimpse at the potential of such unity against far right economic policy. Support the strike, oppose solutions of timidity and recognise that the fight for the protection and betterment of social and economic conditions is the collective responsibility of us all.