WIT Students’ Union (WITSU) stand in solidarity with Bus Éireann staff who commenced an all-out strike at midnight on Thursday last. The strike is in response to measures introduced by Bus Éireann to deal with the its ongoing financial difficulties. In a statement released on Friday last, the union representing the workers emphasised its support for previous strikes, reaffirming this support and condemning the failure of management to find a resolution with workers.
The strike has affected multiple services and has made travelling difficult for tens of thousands of people across Ireland, especially students. Michelle Byrne, WITSU President, was speaking to Marian Finucane live on RTÉ Radio 1 last Saturday about the strike and its affect on WIT students. She mentioned that bus services are vital for students travelling from home to college, and help alleviate the financial strain of owning a car. She also said that many students rely on the bus to travel to part-time jobs which helps fund their education, and pointed out the lack of rural bus services in recent years meaning more students were required to use Bus Éireann’s services. The full interview can be heard here (from 09:45 onwards): http://www.rte.ie/
radio/utils/radioplayer/ rteradioweb.html#!rii=b9_ 21150148_0__
Michelle also spoke to Bus Éireann workers on Saturday last who were picketing at the bus depot in Waterford City. They told her about their frustrations as management walked out twice from Workplace Relations Commission meetings. She believes Bus Éireann have a responsibility to provide a public service and has called on Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to step in and find a resolution as soon as possible.
This sentiment has been echoed by the President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Annie Hoey. “This dispute has gone beyond the dispute between management and workers – it has created a complete gridlock for students seeking to get home and to college” she said. Annie also mentioned that, due to the strike action, students are unsure if they’ll be able to make critical classes in the lead up to exam season. “The failure to negotiate isn’t just causing inconvenience – it’s causing enormous anxiety and stress for people at the most difficult time of the year” she said, “We urge management and our Government to come to a resolution with workers, and firmly do not believe that workers should have their wages cut to plug the gap.”
The Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, has stated that although he is “deeply concerned” about the strike, he will not be intervening with the situation, instead stating both parties should direct talks to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.
Students affected by the strike are encouraged to visit WITSU’s Carpooling Group on Facebook: https://www.
All other transport links to WIT can be found on the WITSU website: http://witsu.ie/