The National Bus and Rail Union has over the last two years been aware of the developing crisis at Bus Éireann in relation to the Expressway commercial service.
We have conducted two ballots for industrial action during that time in the event that the company would move to unilaterally implement signalled changes to terms and conditions in a futile attempt to resolve this crisis.
The fact of the matter is that unless all of the stakeholders, inclusive of the policy makers at the Department of Transport, the NTA, (who's implementation of this policy in the guise of saturating the bus market is central to the financial crisis), along with company and staff come together and engage on potential solutions, the comprehensive network that has taken generations of Bus Éireann staff to build will unravel and ultimately disappear.
The NBRU has been engaging in a public awareness campaign across the country over recent weeks alerting those who rely on this vital social and economic Public Transport link into every community, that unless there is a political willingness to address the fundamental issues at the heart of this crisis then the bus services will be no more.
The resolution will not be exclusively found within the industrial relations arena, offering heads on a platter will not make the crisis disappear.
It is high time for those politicians who purport to represent rural Ireland to step up to the mark and work towards protecting this vital piece of irreplaceable infrastructure.
General Secretary, NBRU