Monday 14 October 2019

Bus drivers 'forced to urinate in bottles' due to lack of toilets

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary. Photo: Tom Burke
NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary. Photo: Tom Burke

Anne-Marie Walsh

Drivers at Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus claim they have been forced to urinate in bottles and beg to use the toilet in supermarkets because of a lack of facilities.

One of the main transport unions has written to the semi-State companies complaining that it has been fielding questions from members on the issue for months.

The National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU) claimed there are no facilities at terminals on some routes.

It said they include the 39 and 39a in Ongar in west Dublin, the 54a route in Kiltipper, the 31 at Howth Summit, number 16 Ballinteer route, 121 Ashtown route and 25 between Merrion Square and Lucan.

The union said toilets were needed in Clane on the Bus Éireann route to Dublin, and at Dunshaughlin. In a letter to the chief executives of the CIÉ bus companies and National Transport Authority, general secretary of the NBRU Dermot O'Leary said health and safety regulations obliged the companies to provide adequate facilities for employees.

He said disrupting transport services because of a basic human need was untenable and demanded a timeframe for building temporary toilets, which could be followed by permanent lavatory facilities.

"Despite numerous attempts by the National Bus and Railworkers Union to arrive at satisfactory arrangements through a host of industrial relations meetings (tinkering around the edges is not a solution), both bus companies have to date failed to put adequate arrangements or protocols in place that would protect our members and ensure compliance with the minimum legislative requirements," said the letter sent this month. "This basic entitlement has been denied to bus drivers for far too long. It is of course a consequence of the questionable planning process/system in this country over decades."

The union is issuing thousands of leaflets across Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann services explaining the plight of bus drivers this week.

"We have explained to commuters how extreme measures sometimes have to be undertaken, how drivers have to improvise, begging at the local supermarket or petrol station to use a toilet or worse, peeing in a bottle, is not how wash and sanitary facilities should be provided in this day and age," said Mr O'Leary.

A spokesperson for Dublin Bus said discussions about toilet facilities were ongoing.

Irish Independent

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