Tuesday 17 October 2017

Just hoping the strikes go away is not a real strategy

The Government needs to differentiate between under-resourcing and pay in the public sector

Stoppage: Buses parked during this week's strike Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Stoppage: Buses parked during this week's strike Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Eoin O'Malley

If Enda Kenny writes a weekly diary he might chalk it down as a middling week. He's still Taoiseach, which is a bonus. He had the Dail debate on Apple and it went well enough. He got support for the appeal. He might ask his diary whether Waterford TD John Halligan is ever going to actually resign. At this stage, Kenny might be wishing he'd go. It would put the other lads in the Independent Alliance in their place.

But I wonder would he muse on the impact of the bus strikes that created horrendous traffic for Dubliners this week? The bus strike isn't going to go away on its own, and if he's looking a bit further down the road, he'll see that there are similar problems with the Gardai, who are balloting on what form of industrial action they might take, and secondary school teachers, who could close down most of the country's secondary schools at the end of October. Strikes tend to deliver other strikes. The Luas strike and subsequent pay deal caused the Dublin Bus strike, so where Gardai and teachers go, nurses are sure to follow.

Under Social Partnership, we'd become so used to industrial peace that strikes had a bit of novelty value. Union leaders were sharp-suited and more familiar with the corridors of power than the average Government TD. Industrial relations was a bit dull, but the novelty of strikes soon wears off.

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