Time for talking to resolve bus dispute

AFTER the chaos inflicted on the public by this week’s bus strike, it is imperative that five more days of mayhem do not happen. 

As Kieran Mulvey, chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission, put it yesterday, this dispute will only be resolved around the table and not on the streets.

Unions and management should heed his call for the war of words to stop. And when they return to the LRC, they must be prepared to engage constructively without reiterating the mantra which the public has grown sick of hearing.

Between them, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus are losing around €3m, not counting the cost of this dispute to the wider economy, because more than 600,000 people were cynically prevented from travelling yesterday and will be blocked by strike action again today.

What many find infuriating is that the dispute concerns plans for potential privatisation as 10% of public bus routes are put out to tender not this year, nor next year, but in 2019.

If anything, the threat of legal action aimed at recouping company losses will make the situation even worse.

As Winston Churchill famously put it: “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.” With a government guarantee of jobs on the table and Mr Mulvey inviting both sides to talks at the commission next week, it is time to resolve this dispute and call off further disruptive and costly strikes with the public as pawns in a game of blackmail.

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