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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
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Bus Éireann strike latest: Heavy traffic reported on many routes this afternoon

The all-out strike is now in its second day.

0008 Bus Strike_90506709 Buses at the Broadstone depot in Dublin. Source: Rollingnews.ie

THE ALL-OUT Bus Éireann strike is now in its second day.

There were increased traffic volumes on many routes this afternoon.

But there was some positive news for passengers earlier, as Irish Rail announced there would be no disruption to its services today.

The strike centres on a dispute between workers and management at the semi-State company, with the latter claiming that its worsening financial situation requires cuts and changes to employee contracts.

Bus Éireann told employees that it would introduce these cost-saving measures without agreement, and unions announced an all-out strike which began at midnight yesterday.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, workers on the picket line said that they feared that the company could close forever if the dispute is not resolved soon.

Irish Rail

Rail services were badly affected yesterday, as Irish Rail workers at some shared depots refused to pass the picket line from Bus Éireann strikers.

Today, however, that is not the case according to a statement from Irish Rail.

It said that they “do not anticipate further disruption arising from the Bus Éireann dispute” and that all services were operating on all routes.

It apologised to customers affected by yesterday’s disruption and advised that any customer who booked on a train yesterday “that has been affected” can travel on an alternative service today using the same ticket.

Heavy traffic

There were increased traffic volumes on a number of main approach roads to Dublin today.

In an update this afternoon AA Roadwatch said traffic was slow in both directions along the Grand Canal approaching Harold’s Cross. Pembroke Road was also busy outbound through Ballsbridge due to a match at the RDS. Inbound traffic on the Swords Road was busy through Drumcondra.

In Corkaccording to AA Roadwatch, the N40 South Ring Road was busy eastbound approaching the Kinsale Road Roundabout. In Galway there were inbound delays on the Dublin Road from GMIT to Bon Secours Hospital. In Limerick there were delays inbound on the Ennis Road going over Sarsfield Bridge and onto William St.

The way forward?

Both the National Bus & Rail Union and Siptu have offered their alternative measures through which they believe the crisis at Bus Éireann could be solved.

Siptu sector organiser Willie Noone said:

The steps include the establishment of a sectoral employment order for bus workers.
It would mean that any competition between Bus Éireann and private operators would be based on the quality and efficiency of the service provided and not on driving down workers’ pay and conditions.

Noone added that Bus Éireann was mandated to provide a service, even on loss-making routes, but said that the State’s subvention to Bus Éireann fell in recent years.

Returning this funding level to pre-2010 levels was essential to allow the continued operation of the service in the communities that need it, he said.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has stated repeatedly that his department will make no intervention in the industrial dispute, despite calls from opposition TDs to do so.

He recently told an Oireachtas committee hearing: “What I don’t see from people who call for my intervention is what they think my intervention will do. They think I will come into this dispute with money to offer. I don’t have money to offer.”

He is due to appear before the Committee for Transport again this Wednesday 29 March to address the current situation at Bus Éireann.

- With reporting by Daragh Brophy 

Read: ‘I’ve no other choices in life. It’s all I know how to do’: Bus Éireann staff fear the worst

Read: Major disruption to Irish Rail services as some workers refuse to pass Bus Éireann picket

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Sean Murray

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