A year ago, after three votes on a cost cutting plan, SIPTU and NBRU members, narrowly voted in favour of Dublin Bus management’s proposals. The plan brought in work practice changes and the reduction of the fleet by 120 buses. The Harristown depot in North Dublin constantly voted against the proposals and when “cuts” occurred on one of the depot’s routes (route 128), drivers attached to that route held a protest which developed into a stoppage lasting three days.
The right-wing media immediately tried to whip up a “red scare” and blamed the dispute on drivers they saw as being left and socialist. This reporting bias was encouraged by elements in management and by some union officials.
Members of the Busworkers Action Group were subjected to attacks in the media and a number of NBRU shop stewards were mentioned, in particular Eugene McDonagh, a member of the NBRU’s National Executive Committee.
After the dispute had ended, the company compiled a list of drivers which they investigated in order to ascertain who had organised or participated in the stoppage. What happened was an eight month long “witch hunt” with elements in the NBRU leadership, it has been claimed, colluding with Dublin Bus management to get rid of shop stewards in the Harristown depot.
Week after week, drivers were dragged up to be interviewed or, in reality, interrogated about the dispute. Some drivers were kept for hours during these hearings and have claimed that they were encouraged to make statements against certain individuals in general and Eugene McDonagh in particular. At the end of this process, the NRBU sat back and let the company single out and sack Eugene McDonagh.
What has happened to Eugene McDonagh is a scandal and exposes the rotteness of certain elements within the NBRU leadership. A rank and file campaign by Dublin Bus drivers is underway to get Eugene reinstated and should be supported by all Dublin Bus staff and trade unionists the length and breadth of the country. This witch hunt is an attempt by Dublin Bus management to intimidate drivers and to force them into keeping their heads down as SIPTU and the NBRU enter new talks on another cost costing plan.
Dublin Bus – Socialist election victory
Attempts by Dublin Bus management to witch hunt effective shop stewards at the Harristown depot has resulted in the sacking of NBRU member, Eugene McDonagh, in an attempt to soften up the workforce for a new round of cutbacks and attacks on jobs, and conditions.
SIPTU shop steward and Socialist Party member, John McCamley, was a victim of this witch hunt but management has failed in their attempt to isolate and damage John amongst his fellow trade unionists. This was clearly shown in the recent elections in which John received 69% of the SIPTU vote to be elected as the chairman of the shop stewards’ committee.