CIE - Union leaders baulk at action

The leaderships of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and SIPTU abandoned talks with the Government on the break up and privatisation of CIE for 24 hours, threatened strike action - met Seamus Brennan for three hours, called off their strike threat and re-entered the talks!

By Paul Murphy

These events shows that Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann workers can have no faith in their leaders to take the necessary action to stop privatisation. The leaderships of the NBRU and SIPTU called off a series of "no fares days" and industrial action last July and entered talks with the Government. Since then Seamus Brennan has made it clear that the Government are not prepared to deviate from their privatisation agenda. Negotiations have achieved nothing. The "no fares day" last July received enthusiastic support from the general public, not just because they got a days free travel but because it showed their backing and support for the bus workers campaign against privatisation.

The privatisation of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann will only be stopped by a concerted campaign of industrial action backed up by a major drive by the unions to win the support of the general public.

It has been raised in the media that SIPTU and the NBRU are cosidering a joint campaign of industrial action by CIE and Aer Rianta workers during the EU against privatisation. The refusal of the leaderships of both SIPTU and the NBRU to take on the Government so far means that this "idea" may never get further than a press statement.

CIE and Aer Rianta workers will only be able to stop privatisation if they force their union leaders to abandoned their partnership approach, and instead use their industrial muscle to force the Government to back down.

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This article is from the January 2004 edition of Socialist Voice. Back issues are available here.