Solidarity to the Striking Bus Drivers and Cork May Day March

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Solidarity and support to the bus drivers taking strike action across the state today. These workers are striking to demand not only the protection of their working conditions but also in defence of our public transport system, which is on the verge of being opened up even more to the private profiteers. Public transport, just like social housing and basic utility services, are essential needs in all communities whether rural or urban, and it is in the best interest of us all that they are protected and invested in through public funding. Privatisation ultimately leads to poorer conditions for workers and downgraded services for the public as profit margins replace public service as the objective.

The following if a statement from SIPTU on the strike…

SIPTU Bus drivers will place pickets in over 30 locations across the country tomorrow (Friday, 1st May) as they engage in strike action aimed at protecting services and decent jobs from the threat of privatisation.

The strike is one of four scheduled to take place during May with further days of action on Saturday, 2nd May, Friday, 15th May and Saturday, 16th May.

Emergency talks, facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission, between representatives of the transport unions, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann ended without agreement this afternoon (Thursday, 30th April).

SIPTU Construction and Utilities Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “It is regrettable that these discussions have ended without any progress. Unfortunately, there was nothing new from the employers in relation to the concerns expressed by SIPTU members about the impact of the proposed privatisation of 10% of bus routes on their jobs and the quality of the service to the public.”

He added: “After months of talks the bus companies have refused to meaningfully engage with SIPTU members on their six point agenda which outlines their concerns over the proposed privatisation plans. In the face of this intransigence our members have been left with no option but to embark on a campaign of industrial action which will cost them financially and cause severe inconvenience to the travelling public which they are proud to serve.”

All of us at Rebel City Writers are in full support of the striking workers and given the day on which the strike falls, International Workers Day, it seems very fitting. To celebrate May Day the annual march organised by the Independent Workers Union will take place this evening in Cork City. Details are as follows…

The first of May marks the fine and unique moment for the workers of the world to celebrate their struggle against injustice, oppression and the ruling elite.

May Day is also a commemoration of the “Haymarket affair” which turned from a peaceful demonstration for an eight hour workday and a reaction to the killing of workers by police previously.

It escalated into violence with casualties/injuries on either side, but that’s not we remember. We will remember the struggle of workers around the globe but in particular in Ireland where the struggle against the company Irish Water has slowly but surely begun to be seen as a struggle against austerity.

The event is organized by the Cork May Day committee and all suggestions are welcome.

We’ll begin outside Connolly Hall as the traditional place and proceed towards Daunt Square. Banners and flags are very welcome.

There will be some speakers at Daunt Square.

A few cold pints will conclude the evening!

Hope to see as many of you there as possible!

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“Workers of the world, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!”

An Bhreathnadóir

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