Strike fear over transport anti-social behaviour

Strike fear over transport anti-social behaviour

Strikes and service withdrawals are expected to be threatened by transport workers in response to antisocial behaviour and jobs fears in the coming weeks and months.

It is understood that members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) will vote today to curtail services in a number of notorious blackspots in response to frequent and escalating antisocial behaviour.

The motions will be tabled at the NBRU biennial conference which is taking place in Cork.

Members are set to indicate that industrial action and the withdrawal of bus and train services across the country is now a distinct possibility in the coming weeks and months. They will consider a motion on the ongoing issue of anti-social behaviour and look at the withdrawal of services from a number of notorious blackspots in the period leading up to Halloween.

Last week, the 203 bus in Cork was suspended when a driver was shot in the face with a pellet gun. The NBRU said it is simply the latest in a series of incidents that have left drivers feeling unsafe.

While Halloween was originally earmarked as the likely date for such action, it is understood that a number of incidents, including one in Waterford this week, may see drivers cancel services even sooner.

It is understood that NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary will today tell delegates that the union will warn employers and the Government that they can no longer guarantee timetabled services as a result of safety concerns associated with anti-social behaviour witnessed almost daily on transport services.

NBRU members are also calling on the Government to introduce a Garda Public Transport Division in response to the concerns.

Sources have also indicated that the NBRU will announce its intention to ballot its Bus Éireann members on the possibility of strike action as a result of the NTA’s decision to tender for two busy routes: the 101 Dublin to Drogheda, and the 133 Dublin to Wicklow.

The NBRU has previously written to the Workplace Relations Commission to raise concerns that the tendering of these services could lead to job losses. The two-day conference also includes a focus on the issue of disability, highlighting the practical problems faced by many users of public transport in Ireland.

Yesterday, the conference heard from wheelchair users and visually-impaired passengers, who discussed using trains and buses. Speakers highlighted the lack of audio timetables for visually impaired transport users, as well as the regular issue of space and access to buses for wheelchair users.

Members unanimously passed several motions insisting the fleet of buses and trains is upgraded to ensure better access for all users.

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