People Before Profit TD Brid Smith calls on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to intervene in the Bus Eireann dispute.

Brid Smith has accused the Minister for Transport of “Hiding behind the notion that this is just an industrial relations issue.”

The People Before Profit TD for Dublin South Central is the party’s spokesperson on Workers Rights and has continually called on Shane Ross to acknowledge that as Transport Minister he has responsibility for the future of Bus Eireann.

Brid Smith said “Management at Bus Eireann are striving to create a low paid, flexible workforce that can compete with the private bus operators in a Race to the Bottom. Workers and Unions at Bus Eireann are willing to be more flexible and have increased their productivity many times over the last few years.

“There are two principle issues at the heart of this crisis and both are the direct responsibility of Minister Ross. Firstly, the company has been continually underfunded by the State, especially in the last eight years with one of the lowest public transport subventions in Europe. Secondly, the National Transport Authority (NTA) have deliberately made it impossible for Bus Eireann to compete on the Expressway routes by increasing the level of privately operated licences and capacity by up to 200% on some routes. These measures have combined to create this crisis for our semi state transport company which is essential to our services and needs to be protected.”

Deputy Smith continued, “Workers at Bus Eireann are right to resist attempts to drive down their wages and conditions. If Bus Eireann management succeed with their plan it will be a blue print for others to drive down conditions of workers. I hope that the public and colleagues of Bus Eireann employees in other CIE companies realise what is at stake here and show them full support. Shane Ross needs to step up to the plate and ensure that this company is properly funded and that there is no privatisation by stealth.”