SIPTU calls for reduction in passenger capacity on public transport
The request is in response to rising Covid cases across the country.
SIPTU representatives are calling for a reduction in passenger capacity on public transport in a bid to "protect workers and the public from an increased risk of Covid-19 infection".
The trade union issued the request via a letter to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan on Wednesday (24 November).
“Ireland is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections and restrictions are being applied across various sectors of our economy," said SIPTU Sector Organiser John Murphy.
"However, despite this, capacity on all modes of public transport remains at 100%, which sharpens the risk for both workers and passengers.
“SIPTU representatives fully accept that public transport must continue but passenger capacity must be reduced so our members can work, and passengers can travel, in the safest possible way.
"While we are aware that the Government is actively considering reducing public transport service levels at weekends we believe this would be a flawed policy as it will only cut the number of vehicles and potentially lead to further overcrowding,” Murphy explained.
SIPTU had previously shared concerns about the return to 100% capacity on public transport in previous weeks, and had requested a meeting with the Government to explore the impact of the return to full capacity on workers.
“The reality is previous decisions on public transport service levels and vehicle capacity have been taken by the Department of Transport without any consultation with workers or their representatives," Murphy added.
"This is despite several attempts by SIPTU representatives to engage with the Minister for Transport concerning these issues over the last 20 months.
“We are now calling on the Minister to engage with us immediately on the introduction of a coherent and safe policy in relation to public transport services,” he concluded.
SIPTU is Ireland's largest trade union, with around 4,500 members involved in public transport.