Fianna Fáil TD for Wicklow/East Carlow Pat Casey says the Government must work with bus unions to help prevent a damaging strike from occurring at Bus Éireann.
Deputy Casey made the comments following confirmation that talks between unions and management at the semi-state company broke down this afternoon.
“It’s deeply disappointing that the talks between unions and management have broken down. The possibility of a damaging strike occurring at the company is now a step closer,” said Deputy Casey.
“Minister Ross has taken a completely hands off approach in dealing with this issue. His lack of interest in facing up to the problem has allowed it to develop into a full blown crisis. Many Wicklow people who rely on Bus Éireann services such as the 133 to Wicklow and Arklow on a daily basis now face significant disruption if this issue is not resolved quickly.
“The Government have been aware of the financial crisis facing Bus Éireann for over twelve months. Despite this Minister Ross has failed to take any measures to help resolve the difficulties facing our largest transport provider.
“It’s clear that the necessary savings cannot be made exclusively from tinkering with employee contracts. There are serious structural issues facing the company which need to be overcome, including problems with the current licensing system for bus routes. A review of the Expressway routes also needs to be carried out with a view to moving the non-commercial performing routes into the PSO. The social protection contract also needs to be re-examined. These issues cannot be overcome without input from Minister Ross.
“Minister Ross and his colleagues around Cabinet need to urgently set out what they actually intend doing to avert industrial action at Bus Éireann, and what contingency plans he has in place to deal with this crisis,” concluded the Wicklow Deputy.