At today’s meeting of the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport, Imelda Munster TD, urged Minister for Transport Shane Ross TD to facilitate talks between unions and Bus Éireann management by asking Bus Éireann to set aside the programme of cuts to staff pay whose terms and conditions were issued to workers a numbers of weeks ago by Bus Éireann management.
Minister Ross denied that this programme of cuts amounted to preconditions.
Deputy Munster said:
“These cuts have inflamed the entire situation at Bus Éireann. In my view this was an ultimatum from Bus Éireann management to staff.
“Unless Minister Ross insists that Bus Éireann management meet with unions, without pre-conditions, and takes these plans off the table, he will have to take responsibility for the crisis that will result from that derogation of duty.
“It is insulting that the Minister has said at today’s meeting that Bus Éireann has not attached preconditions on their meeting with the unions. Call them what you like, an initiative, a programme, proposals. It’s the same thing.”
Deputy Munster also commented on the lack of action by Minister Ross on this matter since he assumed office last year.
Deputy Munster continued:
“This crisis has been brewing for a long time. It’s not today or yesterday that the Minister became aware of it. He had ample time to address it. He has yet to disclose the routes, garages and services that are being targeted for closure.
“We now have a situation where we have an 11th hour panic. No funding has been secured and Bus Éireann management is making statements about the entire company going down….and its 2,600 staff members going with it.”
Deputy Munster pressed the Minister on the matter of facilitating talks, but once again he refused to intervene in the matter.
Deputy Munster concluded:
“Minister Shane Ross refusing to engage with his brief or the stakeholders within his portfolio is nothing new, and sadly, it comes as no surprise. He’s full of tea and sympathy, but that makes for a wholly ineffective Minister.”