Bus strikers have a 'message’ for the Government

Bus strikers have a 'message’ for the Government
EEXX news 31/03/2017.Bus Eireann workers (at left) placed a picket outside Kent Train Station, Cork on Friday morning 31st March 2017. Picket at main entrance from Lower Glanmire Road, with Irish Rail workers (on right)Pic; Larry Cummins

There were scenes of relief for commuters at Kent Station after an unofficial strike by Irish Rail workers in solidarity with their Bus Éireann colleagues was called off shortly after 10am yesterday.

National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) President and Cork bus driver John Moloney called the action a “message” to the Government.

Commuters had been left to scramble for seats on private buses until the strike was halted and ticket machines at Kent Station were reopened.

Dublin Bus and DART drivers in the capital also joined the unofficial strike, but along Irish Rail workers, did not walk with their Bus Éireann colleagues in the pickets outside stations.

No notice had been given of the unofficial action and Irish Rail management only became aware of it when Bus Éireann staff appeared outside stations in the early hours of Friday morning.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary had called for the secondary pickets to be removed as they had not been officially sanctioned by the union.

Bus Éireann said the action was "illegal" and now "trust must be restored in order for dialogue between both parties to resume", while Transport Minister Shane Ross said it was an "unjustified protest".

NBRU president and Cork bus driver John Moloney said the temporary action was a warning to the Government and Minister of Transport.

“It just goes to show how people have linked into this dispute because Irish Rail and Dublin Bus staff know that if principles were conceded here in Bus Éireann, it's inevitable that they will be next,” he said.

“It sends a message to the powers that be that the levels of frustration that people are experiencing means that we can't say this is not going to happen again,” he added.

Irish Rail workers at Kent station said that while they did not want to be on strike, they were happy to support their colleagues in Bus Éireann.

One worker who did not want to be named for fear of of being disciplined by superiors said: “We all understand. I'm proud of the Bus Éireann workers for doing this, even though I am not getting paid. I would stay on strike for as long we need to.” 

Another said: “We're a third party to this but I fully support what they are doing. It's not just about the Bus Éireann workers earning enough, none of us earn enough.”

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