SIPTU has called on the Department of Transport to provide a proper long-term funding plan for Dublin Bus as workers prepare for the beginning of a 48-hour work stoppage at the public transport company at 12.01 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday, 8th September). SIPTU Transport, Energy, Aviation and Construction Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “Dublin Bus returned to profitability in 2014. This is despite the reduction of the State subvention to the company by 24% in the last six years. There was also the crazy situation last year where the National Transport Authority took €2 million from the company’s profits as it deemed them to have been too high. “Meanwhile, workers at the company have not had a pay rise in eight years. During this period the workers agreed major changes in work practices which helped the company through the recession and now provide a service to more passengers than ever before. Passengers have also endured increased fares since 2010, enforced on them by the National Transport Authority.” He added: “The Department of Transport must end the practice of starving the capital city’s public bus service of funds. Ireland is well out of line with best practice in Europe when it comes to funding public bus transport. The average ratio of public bus service funding across the EU is 50% from fares, 50% state funding, in the case of Dublin Bus its 75% fares and 25% state funding.” SIPTU Organiser, John Murphy said: “It is clear that the underfunding of Dublin Bus is a problem that has now caught up with the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority. It is essential that Dublin Bus is provided with medium to long term funding proposals. “SIPTU members sincerely regret that they have been left with no option but to undertake industrial action in pursuit of their reasonable pay claim. They also regret that management and the Department of Transport have not lived up to their responsibility to the travelling public and seriously attempted to resolve this dispute.” SIPTU and the other four Dublin Bus unions have served notice for a series of 48-hour work stoppages on Thursday 8th and Friday 9th September, Thursday 15th and Friday 16th September, and Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th September. SIPTU members will picket all seven Dublin Bus depots at Clontarf, Conyngham Road, Harristown, Ringsend, Phibsboro, Donnybrook and Summerhill, as well as the company’s head office on O’Connell Street, from 5.00 a.m. on each dispute day.