Following talks at the Labour Relation Commission (LRC) today (Friday 14th November) on proposals to privatise bus services, SIPTU has sought an urgent meeting with the Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe. SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Owen Reidy said that it was necessary to meet the Minister in order to address a range of critical issues which have emerged from the LRC discussions. The National Transport Authority (NTA) has plans to put out to tender 10% of the routes currently serviced by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, including in Dublin and Waterford. “The union has participated in seven LRC meetings on this matter to date and has received a lot of financial and other information from the NTA and both bus companies. “Unfortunately, the implications of what we have learned are extremely serious for our members. Both bus companies have said that if they fail to secure the 10% of the routes which the NTA intends to put out to tender, they would be exposed to legacy costs of up to €43 million. It would be completely unacceptable to SIPTU were both companies to seek to address this cost by further eroding conditions of employment in both companies. “This flawed privatisation plan has not taken into account many issues which the unions have raised.  The argument for new competition in the bus market is also flawed as Bus Éireann competes with private operators every day of the week and Dublin Bus faces transport competition through the DART, the Luas, taxis, private cars, etc. “We will continue to campaign against this flawed plan and it is imperative that the Minister now listens to our concerns and seeks to work with us in the interests of sustainable employment and public transport.”