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Snippet Contents:

I asked the Minister what I thought were three serious questions. First, where does the Government stand on this? The response I got was that the Minister would stand idly by. Second, I asked what strategy the Government expects to put in place to deal with those who will be affected by this strike if it goes ahead, who will not be in a position to afford private transportation. Third, I asked what action the Minister intends to take to mediate between both sides. The best I got from him on those two questions was that he very much hopes that management and unions can get their act together in the period concerned.
More than that is needed from the Minister. He will have to take this as a serious issue. I am not having a go at him personally. I know he is doing his best in this regard. However, he will have to try harder and must put the two sides together. He will have to involve himself in a process of mediation. Clearly, neither the Labour Court nor the machinery of the State that is normally involved in resolving industrial relations is working in this instance. We conceded that and the Minister went on to comment about the Government and the unions vis-à-vis the Croke Park agreement. I believe there are people within the union structure who are very annoyed with the senior sections of their own organisations, who do not believe they are getting a fair hearing through the process of mediation available. This will require a much more involved process and greater intervention by the Minister. I look forward to his taking that on board.