The Horarios do Funchal bus company continues to be beset by instability problems. However, Rui Barreto, the Regional Secretary for the Economy, considers that it is not the company’s management that is causing instability within the company, but the unions themselves, as they either do not or will not understand the current situation.
This week, the National Union of Drivers (SNM) spokesperson, Manuel Oliveira, considered that “the current administration of the bus company is no longer in a position to be part of the solution.” He went on to state that if the company bosses are tired of what they are doing they should be replaced and has requested the Regional Government to intervene in the situation.
At the root of the matter is the ‘Single Agent allowance.’ When questioned about his stance on this matter, Rui Barreto strongly reiterated that Horários do Funchal management had made a clear proposal to the unions with regards to protecting the Single Agent allowance. The union wants an increase in wages, but the Regional Government has said that common sense has to prevail and that the current Single Agent allowance runs from 2019 to 2022. When this agreement ends, the current €156 will increase to €210 month.”
While talking to JM reporters, Rui Barreto pointed out that “he highly appreciates the drivers of Horários do Funchal. They are the face of the company, but the company is not just the drivers. We have to have a sense of responsibility and common sense and that is what Horários do Funchal management tries to do every day as part of the provision of a public service.”
Continuing, the Regional Secretary of Economy stated that “we are in the process of a public launch, we are investing heavily in modernising the fleet, increasing flexibility and improving the comfort we offer our passengers. There are so many challenges ahead, for which there are solutions, which will be fulfilled and now is not the time to create instability. In fact this instability has not been caused by the administration, which has always been willing to meet and discuss on-going issues, but comes from some of the unions who appear not to understand the current situation and its impact on the companies operations. Therefore, I appeal for commitment and common sense.”
Finally Rui Barreto stated “We are experiencing a pandemic situation and the company is suffering financially due to travel restrictions. By way of example, in April the Horários do Funchal Group, which includes Horarios do Funchal, Companhia de Autocarros de Sao Goncalo and the tourist services the company provides, invoiced 56 thousand euros, when, on average, it invoices one million euros per month.
As for the complaint of changes in schedules, the government official recalls that there was a reprogramming of the bus timetables due to the pandemic, and as buses cannot be driven by themselves, readjustments have to be made.
The vice president of the SNM, Manuel Oliveira, argued that if the Horários do Funchal (HF) company brings in the proposed changes on Monday the 21st of September industrial action may be taken. Concluding, he warned that 90% of the workforce are in favour of further industrial action.
info at madeira-weekly.com