Over in the Republic of Ireland, Unions SIPTU are holding a strike on Friday 1st May, Saturday 2nd May, Friday 15th May and Saturday 16th May whilst NBRU are striking on 15th & 16th May and 19th, 30th and 31st of May. The reason why they’re striking is because 10% of the routes are going to be contracted out to private operating companies.
Press release from NBRU
NBRU to Undertake 48 hour Bus on the 1st & 2nd May and announces plans for further action.
General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said:
“whilst we have previously announced our intention to keep the disruption to the public at a minimum on the 1st May, it now appears that initial positive statements from the Minister have not been followed up by actions to get the parties responsible for this anti-bus worker, anti- travelling public policy to recognise and address the serious issues at play, this, along with the welcome show of solidarity by our trade union colleagues has led to the NBRU outlining a significant programme of Industrial action through the coming months”
Mr O’Leary went on to say that:
“The proposed action will as a matter of course dovetail with our trade union colleagues with a further 48 hour stoppage on the 15th & 16th May followed by a three day work stoppage on the 29th May, 30 & 31st May, the resolution to a protracted dispute along with the prospect of a summer of discontent rests with the Government”.
Press release from SIPTU
SIPTU Drivers employed by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are to engage in four days of strike action during May, following a refusal by the management of both companies to meet with workers to discuss their major concerns over plans to privatise 10% of bus routes.
At a meeting of the SIPTU Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann joint sub committee this morning (Monday, 20th April) it was decided that the work stoppages by drivers will occur on Friday, 1st May, Saturday 2nd May, Friday, 15th May and Saturday, 16th May.
SIPTU Utilities and Construction Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “As a result of talks at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) collapsing, the SIPTU Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann joint sub committee met on 13th April. At this meeting it was decided to postpone any decision on industrial action for 10 days to facilitate meetings with both bus companies and the Department of Transport.
“In correspondence received from Bus Éireann on 16th April and from Dublin Bus on the 17th April, the companies refused to agree to a meeting and merely recommended that the LRC process should be reconstituted.”
He added: “It is outrageous that having taken a moderate approach to prevent industrial action by seeking direct talks with both bus companies, SIPTU has been met with such intransigence. We have had a meeting with the Department of Transport, which was useful and workmanlike, but until we meet with both bus companies it is impossible to make an assessment on the prospects of making progress in allying our members' concerns. The Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe, needs to get his house in order and resolve what is a dysfunctional position taken by these companies.
“SIPTU Drivers are against the privatisation of 10% of bus routes as proposed by the National Transport Authority. They believe this move will damage public transport and is unnecessary.
“For more than nine months SIPTU has been seeking to have six key points, with serious consequences resulting from this proposed privatisation addressed. There has been little progress in having these legitimate concerns tackled. We regret that management has chosen not to seize the opportunity provided by SIPTU to address these issues and left our members with no option but to embark on a campaign of industrial action.”
The department of Transport, Tourism and Sport issued their press release
Speaking following the announcement today (Monday) that SIPTU and NBRU members employed at Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are to hold a series of strikes, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, said: ‘It is extremely disappointing to learn that SIPTU workers have voted to stage four days of strikes, beginning on the May bank holiday weekend and continuing two weeks later and that those in the NBRU are planning a further 72 hour stoppage from 29-31 May. This will cause considerable disruption across the country, will deprive the economy, which is slowly recovering, of revenue and will cause widespread disruption for the travelling public and those visiting from abroad’.
“I have reiterated my support for both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann on numerous occasions, demonstrated by the fact that €180 million was invested in the companies, by the taxpayer, last year in PSO funding and support for the upgrading and modernisation of their fleets. I have also given a commitment to seek an increase in subvention funds into the future to enable expansion in the years ahead.
“Allowing for a degree of competitive tension in the market will ensure better value for money for the taxpayer and improved quality of service for commuters and I am committed to that objective. Both companies are open to compete for the routes that are going out to tender. I have also made it clear that I am open to continuing discussions in a bid to address employees’ concerns. The companies also remain available to resume discussions with the unions at the LRC and I would urge the unions to avail of that in a bid to prevent this strike from going ahead and to avoid unnecessary disruption to the public and to the wider economy.”
The Irish government are following in the footsteps of London Buses, where back in the 1980's, London Regional Transport placed the London Bus routes out to competitive tender.
|You may notice that London Buses had different liveries.|
During the late 1980’s, the percentage of London bus routes tendered off to private operators increased. One of the notable routes was route 24 (from Hampstead Heath to Pimlico) which had their operations tendered off to Grey Green in late 1988.
The purpose of tendering off London Bus routes to private bus operating companies was to cut the operating costs in half, as the government claimed that publicly owned London Bus operations had become too expensive for them.
In 1989 London Buses was split into 12 business units, in preparation for sell-off. In late 1994 the separate London Buses' business units were sold off to private ownership which also meant that the routes were tendered off to private operating companies to operate under a concession for London Transport.
Thankfully, Thames News uploaded their news reports to YouTube, which show the events of privatisation of London Buses.
London Bus drivers had to work longer hours for lower pay because London Buses had to bid for their bus routes. One of the drivers on the video had to work longer hours with bad conditions and ended up suffering with headaches and fatigue.
You can see more about the privatisation of London Bus operations on this link here.
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Image attributions"20130810 dublin081" by Jean Housen - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:20130810_dublin081.JPG#/media/File:20130810_dublin081.JPG
"London buses routes 177 and 188 October 2005" by Yuichi from Morioka, Japan - 188 BusUploaded by Ultra7. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:London_buses_routes_177_and_188_October_2005.jpg#/media/File:London_buses_routes_177_and_188_October_2005.jpg