Wednesday 17 January 2018

'Outrageous' disruption could cost economy millions of euro, say businesses

Bus Éireann strikers and supporters at the demonstration outside Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke
Bus Éireann strikers and supporters at the demonstration outside Leinster House. Photo: Tom Burke

Sean Duffy

Business leaders reacted angrily to the wildcat industrial action that hit customers and staff trying to get to work.

Employers' group Ibec called it "outrageous" and labelled the action by workers "illegal".

Patricia Callan, director of the Small Firms Association, said its members were "totally exasperated" by the action.

She said that the Bus Éireann workers' action could cost the economy "hundreds of millions of euro".

"The idea that you can have a very organised group of workers create this amount of disruption to an economy is outrageous. The amount of lost revenues to the economy could run to hundreds of millions of euro when you factor everything in. This is no way to solve an industrial dispute," she said.

Vincent Jennings, CEO of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, said the picketers were employing "bullyboy tactics".

He questioned whether the Government should step in to stop secondary picketing.

He said: "If people aren't prepared to adhere to the normal standards of an industrial relations dispute, maybe it is time there was action taken to legally tackle the issue of secondary picketing. Rate paying and tax paying businesses have a right to trade and these bullyboy tactics being used are just unacceptable."

Lorraine Higgins of Retail Excellence Ireland added: "Retailers are the collateral damage of this dispute. There is no understanding of the enormous damage that is being done. Footfall and sales are being badly hit at a time when retailers can least afford it.

"What's the point of staying neutral in a dispute that is affecting people and businesses around the country? It is about time some leadership was shown."

Irish Independent

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