Everyone who is in Cork in the last few days was probably wondering why busses were not running on Sunday and Monday, provoking so many problems to all the citizens. As everybody probably knows, a 48-hours strike of the Bus Eireann’s workers took place this weekend.
Obviously it created a lot of troubles: people not able to move during the weekend but, even worse, people not able to get to work on time on Monday! In a city as Cork, where a lot of foreigners live and work, is very hard to move without buses.
But if we all can see the consequences of this strike, on the other hand not a lot of people are interested in the causes of it. I’m Italian. I’m used to strikes! In Italy, Trenitalia (the company which runs all the trains, which are the most used way of moving from a city to another, in Italy) organizes at least one strike every one or two months. And most of the times you don’t even know why! You just get to the train station, with all your university books, or dressed for work and…no train arrives. And you have to be very lucky to discover it in time to organize yourself in a different way, cause most of the times they don’t even advice!
So…I was astonished when I discovered that, right or wrong (I don’t have the knowledge to judge), they had a reason to strike and they obtained a reaction from the Government, with their protest!
These are the facts: Bus Eireann has lost more or less 27 million euro in the last five years and the Government warned the company to impose some cuts. They need to save around 5 million euro this year or it will go out of business and 2,500 jobs would be lost. The Labour Court has recommended some measures, a 20% cut with the reduction of overtime rates, longer working hours and a cut in shift payments. NBRU (National Bus and Rail Union) that represents 1,100 of the company’s 2,500 workers, decided that these cuts are too heavy and organized the strike.
But it’s not striking for the pleasure of doing something else, as it happens in Italy (you can rarely see Trenitalia’s workers protesting during the strikes) but it’s striking to summon the attention over a problem and to open a productive dialogue.
Maybe, we Italians could learn something from this…
I’m very skeptical about it. But maybe next time a high school’s student will tell me (and believe it or not, I can assure it is true!) that they made up a strike because the toilet paper in the male toilet is pink, I could try to explain him/her that there is a place in which people strike for a reason. And someone even pay attention to them!