To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the steps he has taken to date to assist in the resolution of the strike at Bus Éireann and to address workers’ concerns.
– Clare Daly.
Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
I have consistently stated that I will not dictate to management and unions about their internal issues and nor will I become involved in discussions about how the Company organises itself in terms of its work practices etc. These are issues which require agreement between management and unions.
However, in those areas where I believe it to be appropriate to act, I have acted.
I have increased the amount of money available to fund the delivery of PSO services, including those PSO bus services delivered by Bus Éireann. Last year the Company received 21% more in PSO funding than 2015 and this year overall funding for the PSO programme has increased by a further 11%
I have committed toward further increases to the PSO funding programme as resources allow.
I have instructed my Department to work with the Department of Social Protection in examining the levels of funding associated with the Free Travel Scheme; and
I have supported the NTA in fulfilling its statutory role in assessing the transport connectivity needs of communities impacted by changes to commercial bus services.
My actions alone cannot, and will not, resolve this dispute however. Resolution will require agreement between management and unions in relation to tackling those inefficencies which both parties have agreed exist within the Company.
I welcome the fact that both parties have accepted an invitation from the WRC to recommence discussions. I hope that all involved can use this opportunity to agree upon an acceptable and fair deal. The travelling public will expect that the parties can come to an agreement that allows for an end to this recent period of disruption to transport services.