Kosice/Bratislava, April 12 (TASR) – An hour-long warning strike on Monday morning affected approximately 90 percent of public city transport in Kosice, with vehicles coming to a halt at terminal stops, while 60-65 percent of public transport drivers joined the voluntary strike in Bratislava, although transport to hospitals continued to operate, trade unions representing staff of the two public transport operators told TASR on Monday.
The trade unions wanted to use the strike to point out that the state still hasn’t helped their companies to overcome shortfalls in revenues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We recorded no problems during the strike. Transport to hospitals in Ruzinov, Kramare and Antolska in the borough of Petrzalka was smooth. We’ve done everything that we declared we would do,” Julius Orban, chairman of the trade union organisation at Bratislava City Transport Company (DPB) told TASR.
Andrea Vindisova, chair of the trade union organisation at Kosice Public City Transport Company (DPMK), said that the strike was unavoidable. “Our employees have worked with pandemic measures in effect, they’ve driven vehicles and carried out maintenance. It’s not their fault that the public hasn’t been travelling. Students have been at home and employees working with home office,” she said.
Vindisova stressed that the strike isn’t targeted against the municipality of Kosice or the DPMK management. “If we doesn’t see a positive stance from the Government or Parliament, other steps might follow on our part,” she said. Compensation for monthly shortfalls in DPMK’s sales would enable the company to buy two new buses. Vindisova claims that if financial compensation for the shortfall in sales isn’t provided, routes might be scrapped or shortened, transport might be reduced and staff laid off.
The warning strike was held between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Drivers in Presov backed it symbolically in the form of a supporting strike as well.
The city of Bratislava intends to approach the European Commission (EC) soon in this connection. Bratislava mayor Matus Vallo believes that the EC will confirm that the Government’s procedure is in conflict with the approved aid schemes, as the state is discriminating against the city’s transport company when compared to other carriers. Orban of DPB noted that if one carrier receives aid, the other should as well, regardless of whether it falls under the remit of a local government or not.
The Transport Ministry declared that it has been seeking ways to help public city transport companies hit by the pandemic. It announced on Friday (April 9) that the issue has been taken over by the Finance Ministry.