SIPTU representatives will today (Wednesday, 20th August) attend preliminary talks at the Labour Relations Commission concerning a National Transport Authority (NTA) plan to privatise some bus routes. The NTA and the management of Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus will also be represented at the talks to discuss the plan to privatise 10% of routes at both CIE companies.SIPTU Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “SIPTU has been campaigning against this ill-conceived and flawed plan. The NTA plan will be a bad deal for the taxpayer, the travelling public and workers in both companies."At the talks SIPTU will present its analysis to the other stakeholders. However, the NTA seems intent on implementing this plan which will ultimately be a bad deal for all. In June, representatives of private bus operators questioned whether they would maintain the Department of Social Protection free travel scheme for senior citizens. There is also concern that the NTA sees this process as an opportunity to inflict further cuts to services and workers’ conditions”.He added: “Our members in Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus have made significant contributions to improving the financial position of these companies over recent years. They have accepted cuts in payroll and reductions in conditions of employment but will not tolerate further reductions. The NTA must agree to freeze its plan and allow for an open public debate on the future of public transport. Otherwise services are likely to be affected by major industrial action in the near future”.