Siptu: Dublin Bus drivers 'humbled' by public support as unions call on Minister to 'act on his words'

Siptu: Dublin Bus drivers 'humbled' by public support as unions call on Minister to 'act on his words'

Update 4.45pm: Siptu have said their members in Dublin Bus have been united in their support of strike action and also said they have been "humbled" by the support from the public.

Siptu's Owen Reidy, said: “The over 1,500 Siptu members employed by Dublin Bus have been resolute in their support for the strike action which began today at 12.01 and will end at midnight tomorrow.

“The workers have been humbled by the support shown to them by members of the public on picket lines at bus depots across the city. It is clear that a majority of those who use public transport support our members in their demand for fair pay and sufficient State funding for a bus service which is vital to communities across the city.”

He added that the same was not evident in the approach of management and the Department of Transport.

He said: "We are yet to receive any indication that they are willing to engage in serious talks about our members’ reasonable pay claim or the provision of a medium to long term sustainable funding model for Dublin Bus. Unfortunately, due to this intransigence our members will be back out on the picket line tomorrow and are prepared for further industrial action until this situation changes.”

Siptu's John Murphy, said: “Dublin Bus returned to profitability in 2014. This is despite the reduction of the State subvention to the company by 24% in the last six years. There was also the unacceptable situation last year where the National Transport Authority took €2 million from the company’s profits as it deemed them to have been too high.

“Meanwhile, workers at the company have not had a pay rise in eight years. This situation is unsustainable. Despite our members’ hard work, which has succeeded in returning the company to profitability, many are under serious financial pressure. Several are reliant on Family Income Support payments from the State to make ends meet.”

Earlier: The Transport Minister Shane Ross needs to act on his words to help resolve the bus strike, according to unions.

Mr Ross has been accused of being asleep at the wheel in the build up to the 48-hour strike.

Dublin Bus drivers have been manning pickets since early this morning as part of the dispute over pay.

Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU says The Minister needs to act on his words.

He said: "The only comments that came yesterday, came from the Minister but they came through the airwaves.

Siptu: Dublin Bus drivers 'humbled' by public support as unions call on Minister to 'act on his words'

"As I've been suggesting, the Minister has a role to play, not just to go on the media and say things, but he needs to do things, he needs to act on his words, put some flesh on the bones.

"At the end of the day, this is a dispute that will have to be resolved, it won't be resolved standing on a picket line, it'll be resolved around the table. And the sooner Dublin Bus and ourselves get around the table, the better."

Trade union Unite has also called on the Transport Minister to intervene.

Unite Regional Officer, Willie Quigley, said that the dispute has its roots in what he described "persistent underfunding" of Dublin Bus by successive governments.

Mr Quigley said: "Dublin Bus provides a vital public service, yet we have one of the lowest levels of state support for public transport in the EU. In Dublin, the public subvention makes up just 20% of public transport revenue, compared with over 50% in many other European cities.

Siptu: Dublin Bus drivers 'humbled' by public support as unions call on Minister to 'act on his words'

"This persistent underfunding has resulted in low wage levels for workers and low service levels for users.

"The dispute which started this morning is about the value we place on our essential public services and the workers delivering them.

"Rather than shrugging off responsibility with soundbites about checkbooks, Minister Ross needs to intervene now in this dispute – and he needs to fight the public transport corner at the Cabinet table, making the argument for an increase in subventions to European levels," Mr Quigley concluded.


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