The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Stop Attacks on Bus Drivers

Sean Smyth • 29.05.03

Following the brutal and vicious attack on a Citybus driver on Wednesday 28th May, Translink and the union ATGWU and some of our elected representatives were interviewed by the local media. As usual they cried about the vicious attack on an innocent driver.

This morning, Thursday 29th May, on Radio Ulster John Coffey, chairman of the Citybus drivers union ATGWU, threatened the withdrawal of buses in working class communities in Northern Ireland as a result of these attacks.

Why? These thugs and hoodlums are not from the working class communities. The working class communities do not support these thugs; why do the ATGWU want to punish the working class instead of attacking the scum who attack public service workers?

This is a typical and expected response from a bureaucratic careerist who is only too happy to deliver the company’s line and pass the blame on to the community where the attack took place rather than face the issue head on.

Over two years ago I made Translink, the ATGWU’s GS Bill Morris, regional officer Joe McCusker, and chairmen of both Ulsterbus and Citybus branches John Coffey and Davey Glover, the Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive and all the political partys in Stormont aware of a plan introduced by Dublin Bus in 1996.

Only SF, PUP, Alliance and the Women’s Coalition offered any support; both the DUP and the UUP thanked me for the letter and the SDLP didn’t even reply.

The following report is by a working group established by the minister for justice Mrs Nora Owen T.D. which was made up of government ministers the police and the unions.

The plan was to become known as the Edinburgh plan as it was basis on the operations of Edinburgh buses. The main body of the plan was:

(1) Drivers no longer handled cash: “it fell into a secure box which the driver has no control of; this action would prevent robberies.”
(2) Improved cab security, better protection for drivers
(3) Better communication between the police, street cleansing department, local resident groups, Translink management, and the trade unions.

If the ATGWU is serious about tackling this cancer in the community they should be calling on the security minister Jane Kennedy to establish a task force that should include all of the above.

Questions must be asked like why, when there is a plan that has shown to be effective, have the government, unions, and the H&S executive not implemented it?

The ATGWU should be asking these questions and not pushing the company’s line.

The members should be asking why it was left to a lay member of the union to be interviewed by the media and not the fulltime official who is supposed to be the public face of the union.

Talk is cheap, the drivers want action, not crocodile tears. It’s time the unions realise they have a responsibility to their members.


Sean Smyth was medically retired from Citybus because of assaults



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I have spent
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Index: Current Articles

30 May 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Andersonstown News Moves to Censor The Blanket
Anthony McIntyre


Security Lapse Endangers Republican Prisoner

Martin Mulholland


Britain's Dirty War in Ireland

Irish Republican Information Bureau (IRIB)


Story with rusty British blade has Irish adherents
Adam O'Toole


Wishful Thinking

Liam Clarke


Shade of 1984
Kathryn Johnston


Stop Attacks on Bus Drivers

Sean Smyth


Spooks are not so easy to spring from their closets

Eamon McCann


23 May 2003


Lynch Pins
Eamon McCann


Send in the Sandbag
Anthony McIntyre


Trial By Media

British Irish Rights Watch


We Love the Andytout News Information Minister
Comical Livvy


The Letters page has been updated.




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