Waterford bus workers march in search of their missing TD

Striking Bus Éireann staff in Waterford will leave their picket line at the town's bus station tomorrow(Fri) morning to demonstrate outside the office of their local TD, John Halligan.

Mr Halligan belongs to the same Independent Alliance Group as Transport Minister, Shane Ross wo TSSA has been calling on to intervene and tell Bus Éireann to get back to the negotiating table.

Halligan visited the striking bus workers on their picket line on Tuesday where he pledged to make an intervention with  Minister Ross on their behalf and report back within 24 hours but, since then, they have heard nothing 

There are 200 Bus Éireann staff in Waterford and they will leave their picket line at The Quay and walk via the town's railway station to Mr Halligan's Military Road  Office. They will be joined at the railway station by rail workers who want to express their solidarity with their fellow transport workers. 

They will also be joined by community groups, including the newly formed Carrick On Suir Save Our Bus Sevice group, based 15 miles from Waterford but formed in theist week to defend their bus service which is facing closure. 

All TSSA members in Waterford are women and all are clerical workers. Said one, "We TSSA workers in Waterford have never crossed a picket line but, we've never been on strike before. Is about to be seven days of strike now and I can tell you it's a daunting, serious, gut-wrenching thing to be forced out to defend your livelihood.

"All we want is for the company to negotiate with us properly, TSSA has always said it wants to negotiate but the company stopped negotiating. John Halligan came down to our picket line on Tuesday which was very nice of him we thought at the time. He said he would  find out what was going on to settle this dispute with the Minister of Transport and get back to uswithin 24 hours, but we haven't seen or heard from him since.

"So now we're going to march to find him and ask him to tell us what he knows.He's in the same Independent Alliance Group as Shane Ross. We put him in the Dail because we liked his Independence and wanted him to represent us, so we're going to find out what he's doing about being independent enough to do just that."

Politicians should not treat workers on picket lines as playthings. Popping down to one to make yourself seen is not how it works. Making empty promises to people fighting for their livelihoods is a cheap trick. And the Waterford workers have had enough of being toyed with by paymasters and politicians. 

I'm sure Halligan's intentions were good on Tuesday when he said he'd speak up for the strikers so we want to know now is what made him lose his tongue? Has the squeeze been put on him by his superior  Alliance TD Shane Ross, to shut up and told to practice Ross's infamous missing in action strategy through most of this dispute. 

My members are mums with kids who are just doing their best to get by. They just want to do their jobs but Bus Éireann with the help of their political paymasters are conniving to keep them locked out. No wonder they're marching in their TD tomorrow, they want answers and he's got a lot to answer for!

The demonstration leaves the Quay at 10.45am.


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