In Bratislava, some bus drivers have once again warned of holding a strike on September 02, 2019 between the hours of 4 to 7 pm; the same day students will be returning to school after the summer break.
Sometime in June 2019, Bratislava bus drivers had planned on going on a strike for reasons that Bratislava is the only Slovakia region that still has not honored a collective agreement that would see to the benefits of Slovak Bus Transport (SAD) drivers and their immediate family members. The commitment included social benefits such as giving bus drivers and members of their relatives free bus rides.
However, Autošofér trade union head Jozef Hitka, said that the collective agreement entered with the Dopravný podnik Bratislava (DBP) remains invalid, stating that drivers are still working under unsatisfactory conditions. Drivers are said to be bullied while their social benefits have no guarantee. The trade union has been calling on the DBP management to tackle several issues they have raised for sometime now.
According to Hitka, these are only some of the reasons why they will hold a 3-hour strike on September 02, 2019, but their main agenda is for the creation of a new set of rules in order to secure better employment terms with the DBP, being the company managing Bratislava’s transport system.
DBP’s Position on the Claims of Bratislava Bus Drivers
The public transport system being managed by the DBP consists of three types of vehicles: buses, trolleybuses and trams. Of those three, buses nearly cover the entire city, whilst plying 70 day routes, 20 night routes, and other routes for certain occasions. Routes reach the most remote areas and boroughs in the region.
Revenue from the sale of transport tickets is said to cover 40% of expenses incurred in maintaining the transport system. The remaining 60% is said to be subsidized by the city government. Vehicle drivers are not involved in the sale or validation of tickets, since commuters must buy them from pre-sale points like ticket machines,news stands or at DPB offices. Commuters first validate their ticket in the vehicle’s stamping machine before they can take a seat.
In response to the new calls for strike by the bus drivers, the Bratislava Transport Company or Dopravný podnik Bratislava ( DPB) assured the public that the planned strike will not affect public transport in the Slovakia capital. Based on an internal survey, the company believes the number of drivers that will take part in the planned strike will not be huge. Still, DPB said that management respects the drivers’ right to go on strike.
Moreover, the transport company claims that there is no reason to call the strike anew; asserting that management regularly adopts measures to make a bus driver’s job more attractive..
Regarding the bus driver unions’ claim that the collective agreement remains invalid, the reason for this is said to be due to conflicts among trade unions. DBP management asserts that negotiations over the collective agreement have not reached a conclusion because some trade unions are not united.
DPB spokesperson Adriana Volfová said the company is waiting for the Labour Ministry to choose and authorize one of trade unions involved in the negotiations to take charge in order to conclude the collective agreement. Once that matter has been settled, Volfová said the company promises to renew negotiation talks.