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Bus Eireann: Rank and file action puts defeat of privatisation on the agenda

The action that can guarantee victory in the Bus Eireann struggle is the unofficial action taken by the drivers on Friday 31st March. The strike must be broadened. If it sits still, it risks being strangled.

Flying pickets should bring out Iarnrod Eireann, Dublin Bus and private bus services. Everyoneís wages and conditions will suffer if the strike is broken. Transport across the country must be brought to a halt now without a long delay for further votes.

But thatís a big ask. Itís a big ask for other workers to lose pay and take the risk of striking without the protection of an official dispute. Itís a big ask for travellers who may lose pay and suffer a great deal of inconvenience.

The strike demands must put forward the needs of everyone: A decent wage for workers that is not pared to the bone in the interests of speculators. A national public transport system designed around the needs of the people that excludes privatisation. A broader call against the sell off of resources and services in the interests of vulture capitalism.

The top union officials are a major obstacle to success. Effective wildcat action is organised by the drivers while the officials wash their hands and condemn the pickets. They plan to ballot for extended strike action with implementation almost a month away. What sort of generals start to think about mobilising reserves when the main battle is already joined?

But the faults of the bureaucracy go far beyond go far beyond tactics and strategy. The aims that they put forward cannot lead to victory. They have accepted that cutbacks are needed. They want a place at the table to decide where and when to cut. They want Shane Ross involved so that they can beg for a slush fund to ease the pain as wages and services go down the toilet.

Letís face facts. This is a battle about privatisation. The threats to bus workers are the threats to public sector workers, to housing, to education and to health services.


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