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Dublin: 12°C Wednesday 30 September 2020
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'All we want is fair pay for a job that we do well' - a Dublin Bus driver gives his take on their strike

Bus driver Fergal Fay talks about why he and his fellow drivers are striking.

Fergal Fay

WHEN I STARTED in Dublin bus 15 years ago, I was married with a one-year-old child. You could manage on the wage you got.

Fifteen years later, that’s changed.

I joined Dublin Bus because I love driving and being out on the road, not stuck in a factory or in an office. I like my job.

But it’s not an easy job. You get rude and abusive passengers. Some drivers get assaulted and spat on. People complain when the buses are late, but that’s down to traffic delays that we can’t control. We work three out of every five weekends.

Cost of living

Bus drivers haven’t had a pay rise in eight years. If the cost of living, the petrol and diesel prices, and all the other charges were at 2008 levels, we could cope. Unfortunately, you can’t turn back the clock.

I now have three children, one in primary school, two in secondary school. We live in Drogheda and there’s no public transport like there is in Dublin city. Transport here costs €35 a week for the two girls and the youngest walks to school.

The AA says it costs an average of €11,000 a year to run a car in Ireland. I travel 95kms a day round-trip. Then you have the local property tax, water charges, bin charges and all the other taxes that have come in the last few years.

Cutbacks

Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Dublin Bus have cut our take-home pay for nearly two years. Now they are back in profit to the tune of €23 million, all thanks to the staff. Yet we are told the company is financially fragile.

Drivers are owed a 6% pay rise from a deal that was made by company in 2008. But that rise never happened. They told us that when things turned a corner, we would get the raise that we were promised.

It’s a long time to wait for something you’re owed. I wonder would the bank wait eight years for their mortgage payments.

A family shouldn’t have to rely on family income supplement to make up their wages. I don’t get it, but some drivers in my job do.

Low morale

Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The morale of the drivers is very low at the minute after the raise that the Luas driver got. We do a much harder job. They don’t have to deal with traffic, roadworks, passengers, tourists or cash fares.

Luas drivers got 18.25% over five years. We are looking for 15% over three years, plus the 6% we are owed for the last 8 years.

All we want is fair pay for a job that we do well. So Shane Ross and the NTA should pay us what we deserve.

Finally, to our passengers – we are all very sorry that it had to come to this stage. I feel sorry for anyone trying to get to work during the strike. But we have to fight for better pay, conditions and pensions.

Fergal Fay is a Dublin Bus driver.

Read: ‘For some reason in this country, you actually have to go on strike before people take you seriously’

Read: FactCheck: Does this Dublin Bus drivers’ leaflet stand up to scrutiny?

About the author:

Fergal Fay

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