At a meeting of the Joint Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport, Imelda Munster TD, today questioned Bus Éireann CEO Ray Hernan on the current financial crisis in the company, and asked him for a commitment to create space for engagement without pre-conditions with third parties, in an effort to find a solution to the problems faced by Bus Éireann.
Deputy Munster said:
“Would you agree to setting aside the inflammatory preconditions that you sent to unions and staff last week to allow space for a third party intervention?”
“That a semi-state company is seeking to implement proposals that would result in a 30% reduction in average pay, and an overall race to the bottom in workers’ rights and conditions, is absolutely appalling.”
“If you are genuine and serious, as you say you are, it’s reasonable to create space for engagement without pre-conditions.”
“Will you show a willingness to do this? Will you give a commitment on the public record?”
Deputy Munster cautioned that without a willingness on Mr Hernan’s and Bus Éireann’s part, the crisis is heading towards industrial action.“Without this commitment from Mr Hernan there is only one way this is headed, though of course that might have been the plan all along.”
Mr Hernan was not prepared to make such a commitment, saying that he was prepared to meet the unions, but he was unwilling to recognise that the cuts proposed in Bus Éireann’s letter to unions imposed pre-conditions upon staff.
“Given the fact that you are unwilling to enter into negotiations without pre-conditions, and knowing what possibly lies ahead, you have to take responsibility for not engaging with workers and their representatives, and the chaos that may well ensue as a result of that unwillingness.”