As the bus strike drags into its second week, Galway city Labour councillors will bring a motion to the next Galway City Council meeting in support of the striking Bus Éireann workers, and demanding the Government "immediately take action to resolve the dispute".
The motion, by councillors Niall McNelis and Billy Cameron outlines four steps they want to see taken by the Transport Minister Shane Ross, and the Government. "The minister has stayed out of this issue for too long, and must now get involved in finding solutions to these problems," said Cllr McNelis.
The first calls for a Sectoral Employment Order to be put in place to protect a basic set of terms and conditions for all transport workers, and to prevent private operators from competing with Bus Éireann on the basis of worse terms and conditions for employees. A similar call was made in a recent Labour party Bill. "The Labour Party stands in solidarity with Bus Éireann workers."
The motion also demands that Minister Ross establishes a stakeholder forum to deal with the key issues in the bus strike; that the Government commits to increasing levels of subvention for public transport to European norms; and for the Department of Social Protection to "adequately fund the free travel scheme". According to Cllr McNelis, numbers availing of the free travel scheme have increased, but funding has reduced. "Minister Varadkar appears to have agreed that this should change, but he must move from talk to action on this," he said.
The motion may be discussed at a special meeting of the city council this Thursday [April 6], which takes place at 10am. The meeting is "to discuss the ongoing crises in traffic management and transportation in Galway city". The meeting was demanded by councillors Peter Keane, Ollie Crowe, Mike Crowe (FF ), Cathal Ó Conchuir (SF ), and Colette Connolly (Ind ).