Transport workers want extra holidays after having to take them 'with nowhere to go'


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.27 16 Feb 2021


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Transport workers are seeking an extra 10 days of annual leave in the coming year year.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) say this is due to the fact that they were asked to 'burn off' the holidays last year.

This means they took their annual leave but had nowhere to go.

General-Secretary of the NBRU, Dermot O'Leary, told The Hard Shoulder the contribution of workers throughout the pandemic should be recognised.

"Back last March/April when the pandemic commenced... staff in the CIE Group of Companies - Dublin Bus, Irish Rail and Bus Éireann - were asked to what we call 'burn off' holidays.

"In other words, they were asked to reduce pressure on the payroll - because at that time, the companies weren't sure what service level was going to be required by Government, and indeed if the funding was going to be forthcoming from Government to provide transport."

"From the perspective of my members, they would have wasted that leave at that time - that would have amounted to 10 days leave".

He said his members had no choice but to take some of their annual leave.

"Normally when people take holidays they do it for a reason, not least to go off to sunny climbs... or go on staycation.

"That didn't happen last year, people were just asked to take those holidays to facilitate the companies and the pressure on the payroll at the time.

"So they weren't able to enjoy their annual leave in the way they would have been used to enjoying their annual leave".

Suggested by host Sinead Ryan that no one was able to enjoy their annual leave, he said: "It's worth bearing in mind that a lot of politicians, and indeed media commentators - not least from the stable where this show is coming from today - would be very fulsome in their praise over the last 12 months of transport workers.

"How they ferried essential workers... to and from hospitals and other places of work.

"That praise really needs to be turned into a material recognition now of that contribution that was made.

"It's one thing to be told to don the green jersey, but when it comes to asking for recognition of the work done all of a sudden then it's a divide and conquer".

Transport workers want extra holidays after having to take them 'with nowhere to go'

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After the announcement of the travel restrictions in March last year, there was a reduction in traffic across the national road network of 65% to 70% - compared to the same dates in 2019.

At weekends that reduction was greater again at about 87%.

Train and bus services have been operating a reduced schedule since the restrictions were announced.

This includes Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland and Bus Éireann services.

Main image: Rows of Dublin Buses at the Conyngham Road Bus Depot in Dublin in 2019. Picture by: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Burn Off Holidays Dermot O'Leary Extra Holidays NATIONAL BUS AND RAIL UNION NBRU Public Transport The Hard Shoulder Transport Workers

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