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Privatisation Threat Translink

7 October 2013

Recent media reports have raised speculation around moves to privatise Translink or parts of Translink.

This speculation of privatisation of the public transport system (Translink) has been generated by an upcoming review and report to be issued by the Regional Development Committee. The committee will issue a report, which will be then debated by the Assembly when published in the coming weeks. It is difficult to comment until all the details in the full report is released, however the TSSA position is to resist any attempts no matter how big or small on the issue of privatisation. Experience of privatisation in Britain and elsewhere has seen no resolution of the problems besetting public transport but rather aggravating them.

Privatisation experiences overseas has quickly lead to adverse consequences such as fare rises, essential social services disappear, operating cost increasing due separation of network planning from operations, significant increase in administrative costs, control of public transport will be ceded to unaccountable corporations, deterioration in safety and other standards, job losses and the erosion of working conditions and benefits of workers and others in the wider industry. Translink is responsible with providing transport services to the populated and not so populated parts. The notion of privatising routes, which help to support transport services to the more rural parts will damage the ability to reduce social isolation and deliver efficiencies.

As a union we are also concerned that this threat of priviatisation coincides with plans in the Republic of Ireland by the National Transport Authority (NTA) to privatise 10% of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann routes. These plans are being strongly opposed by the TSSA.

Privatisation in our view will have a negative impact on your job security and terms and conditions within Translink. TSSA members in Translink are working in an environment of reduced funding and ever decreasing staffing levels and yet maintain an excellent public transport system for the benefit of all in our society. If this report advocates privatisation and the uncertainty it creates will severely impact and possibly taint the industrial relations environment especially as we head to a new round of pay talks in 2014.

Once the report is published TSSA will study it closely and consult with your reps. It is the view of TSSA that public transport should remain in public ownership, provided for in the most efficient manner so that it delivers environmental sustainability, social cohesion and economic benefits for all citizens.


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