Thousands support bus strike in Dublin city march

Enda Kenny says there are no winners from bus workers’ industrial action

 

Several thousand demonstrators including union members took part in a protest rally in Dublin city centre on Friday against the privatisation of certain bus routes, to coincide with the nationwide strike.

Members of Siptu who work with Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann led the march.

Figures such as Joan Collins TD and Derek Byrne, the anti-water charges protester who called Michael D Higgins a “midget parasite” and was one of the five jailed water activists, were also present.

Some of those participating chanted: “Labour, Blueshirts, Fianna Fáil - jail, jail, jail them all.”

Earlier, the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and a number of senior Ministers urged the parties involved in the bus dispute to re-engage in talks to try find a resolution.

Enda Kenny said there were no winners as a result of the industrial action by bus workers.

Speaking in Castlebar, Co Mayo on Friday the Taoiseach said he hoped further strike action would be called off.

Tánaiste Joan Burton urged all those involved in the bus dispute to re-engage in talks.

Speaking during a visit to Limerick, Ms Burton said she hoped all parties would enter talks to find a solution.

“The only way to resolve a dispute like this is to sit down and have negotiations, and I hope it will possible to do that as quickly as possible.”

Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said it wasn’t in anybody’s interest to strike.

“I do hope that this will be last one, I know they have talked about others as well,” she said.

“The machinery of the State is there, Kieran Mulvey [of the Labour Relations Commission] has indicated clearly that discussions and negotiations would be appropriate, and that’s what we need.

“Nobody is benefiting from a bus strike. The company is losing money, the workers are out on strike instead of working and being paid and the general public is hugely inconvenienced, particularly with the bank holiday weekend.”

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams joined the picket line at Dundalk bus station to support striking workers.

He urged Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe “to accept that it is the Government’s plan to privatise 10 per cent of bus routes, with potentially more to follow, that has led to today’s strike action”.

“The bus strike is about the very real concerns that workers and their unions have about working conditions and pensions, the future plans the Government has for the privatisation of all bus services, and the impact of all of this on an essential public service,” Mr Adams said.

Cllr Ciarán Cuffe of the Green Party said the blame for the strike by Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus staff rested with Mr Donohoe “due to his failure to provide clarity over the Government’s long-term transport policy”.