Séamus McDonagh, Workers’ Party representative for Meath, has called for the government to step into the Bus Éireann dispute, by putting in place a Registered Employment Agreement (REA) for bus workers.

Speaking following the breakdown of talks today (April 11th) McDonagh said:

The breakdown of talks today come as no suprise to workers in Bus Éireann, who have witnessed the National Transport Authority, and successive governments, attempt to run down public transport in Ireland.

This cannot be resolved on a piecemeal basis. What is required is the introduction of a REA for the sector, to stop private operators from undercutting decent wages and conditions in the public sector.

McDonagh continued by calling on the Labour Court and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to act:

REAs set out minimum pay rates as well as pension and sick pay schemes. The power to introduce such an agreement lies with the Labour Court and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. I’m calling on them to act immediately and introduce an REA for the sector. The talks breakdown today is yet another sign that the ‘hands off’ approach by the Government has been a disaster.

In relation to the ongoing dispute at Bus Éireann, McDonagh said:

It’s clear that management in Bus Éireann are using developments in the private sector to justify the appalling attacks they are attempting to make on the pay and conditions of their own workers. As a stepping stone to re-nationalising all outsourced bus routes, a registered employment agreement would stop them in their tracks and equalise the playing field for all workers. The race to the bottom is threatening to destroy the working conditions of unionised workers in the public sector and must be stopped.