Rail Users Ireland condemns strike action
August 23rd 2014
Rail Users Ireland (RUI) condemns the failure of industrial relations at Irish Rail which is leading to a strike this Sunday and Monday by the NBRU and SIPTU.
This unacceptable situation, which benefits no one, only serves to further undermine public confidence in public transport services at a crucial time for the future of rail transport in Ireland.
Irish Rail is a public service paid for in equal measure by both taxes and fares and citizens have a reasonable expectation to a reliable, safe and efficient public transport service in return.
Over 150,000 daily rail journeys will be impacted leaving a trail of disruption, expense and stress in its wake, commuters unable to get to work, missed hospital appointments, tourists left stranded. Many workers will be seriously affected and their workplaces likewise. Those who cannot get to work on Monday because of this strike will lose wages or leave, and for those in a precarious financial position this is scandalous.
It is undeniable that Irish Rail is in serious financial distress and will lose a further €1 million a day with a high risk of the company going bankrupt.
Passengers have already been hit with annual fare hikes of up to 10% at the same time of reduced services and capacity and as such their patience and their preference to using the train over other forms of transport will either break or wear dangerously thin when strikes are held.
The ultimate responsibility for this debacale falls to the Minister for Transport and his predecessors who have presided over the mess that is Irish Rail for decades, failed to enforce an ethos of customer service and value for money and failed to provide any long term framework for the support and development of the railways in a sustainable fashion.
Rail Users Ireland reminds The Minsiter for Transport that he is the sole shareholder of Irish Rail on behalf of the Irish people and as such as a responsibility to protect the passengers from reckless industrial action. It is not enough for the Minister to assign responsibility to management and blame to the unions. We call on the minister in intervene immediately and effectively.
This is far from an operational matter for the company, it is the basic ability of the company to function at all, and to exist in the future.