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battle cry

Bus Éireann workers told to 'prepare for protracted strike'

Siptu has put its members at the company on strike notice. HSE workers however, have cancelled impending industrial action.

UNION SIPTU HAS put its members working at Bus Éireann on notice to prepare for industrial action.

This evening the union said its members at the semi-state company had been instructed ” to prepare for protracted strike action and to support a political campaign targeting those rural TDs who are propping up a government which is intent on destroying the public bus transport system in their own constituencies”.

“Following the decision of the management of Bus Éireann to cease discussions with the unions in the Workplace Relations Commission it has become clear that an indefinite strike was probably unavoidable,” Siptu’s Willie Noone said this evening.

The combination of the inertia shown by the Department of Transport, the National Transport Authority and the Minister of Transport, Shane Ross, along with the fact that TDs from rural areas who are propping up the Government have gone into hiding on this issue means that our members must prepare for a hard and protracted battle.

Noone added  that “placards and other materials” have been sent from Liberty Hall in Dublin to the union’s offices in Cork, Waterford, Tralee, Galway, Castlebar, Letterkenny, Drogheda and Sligo in preparation for the expected action.

The financial situation at the embattled company is such that it claims it is looking at an estimated operating loss of €9.4 million for last year. It states that losses for last month are already in excess of €1.5 million.

Strike action planned for Monday of this week was avoided as both sides agreed to meet at the WRC to continue talks, only for those talks to collapse the following day.

Earlier, Ross told RTÉ’s Drivetime that the situation is going to be “resolved”.

“This is going to be resolved. And it will be resolved. We will resolve it in a way that will ensure, wherever they (passengers) are in the country, that connectivity will continue,” he said.

The threat that is being held over their heads is absolutely wrong; that somehow they will be cut off.

Meanwhile, Siptu has similarly confirmed that a strike action planned by 10,000 HSE support workers has been “averted”.

Division organiser Paul Bell said : “We have made significant progress on the issue of job evaluation and this process will commence immediately. With regard to the issue of incremental credit for support staff interns it has been agreed that this matter will be considered in the context of the forthcoming public sector pay negotiations.”

The planned action followed a dispute with the HSE centred on job evaluation, incremental credit for support staff interns, and concessions for emergency department staff.

This evening Minister for Health Simon Harris “welcomed” the move, saying: “I am pleased that the threat of action on 7 March has been averted and welcome the understanding reached between the HSE  and Siptu.”

I believe that the best way to resolve issues is by engagement through industrial relations mechanisms and I am very glad to see that this process has led to the right outcome for staff and patients.

Read: Tesco strike suspended as both sides agree to meet

Read: Dublin native John Horan the new GAA president elect after emphatic victory

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