When I announced my proposals for public transport reform to the Public Transport Partnership Forum on 7 November last year, I indicated that it was my intention that the restructuring of CIE should be implemented in a spirit of partnership and consultation. Since then I have had a series of discussions with representatives of the CIE unions. I met with the NBRU on 11 November 2002 and with a joint ICTU and SIPTU delegation on 5 December 2002.
I met with the CIE board, including the worker directors, on 11 December 2002 and I subsequently arranged for the CIE board and CIE unions to be briefed on the technical study commissioned by my Department on the restructuring of the companies. I also met each of the subsidiary boards on 27, 28 and 29 January.
On 21 January, I wrote to unions renewing my invitation to meet at any time. Following on from that I again met with representatives of the unions yesterday. I had a lengthy and useful meeting with the trade unions yesterday during which it was agreed that there would be bilateral discussions between my Department and the trade unions to explore the reform of public transport in the greater Dublin area. The objective is to conclude these discussions by the end of March.
During that meeting I invited the trade unions to submit a short paper to the restructuring implementation group, which I will be convening shortly, identifying their principal concerns about the restructuring of CIE.