The decision to raise public transport fares is another attack on ordinary people’s living standards.
Metro fares in Belfast are set to rise by 10p a journey. Ulsterbus and railways fares are to rise 4% and 4.5% respectively. This is after workers have suffered an average cut in wages of 1.4% according to the government’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.
Bus routes are being scrapped across Northern Ireland, leaving many people such as the elderly without transport. The social and economic consequences of these cuts to public transport will be overwhelmingly felt by the poorest in society. While Minister Danny Kennedy is responsible for endorsing these cuts, they can be overturned by both the DUP and/or Sinn Féin’s veto powers. But neither party have shown any intention of doing so.
Ordinary people have the power to defeat Stormont’s austerity. Protest action has forced Minsters to retreat from closing hospital units, care homes and other cuts. A mass co-ordinated movement of opposition needs to be built across the North to resist all cuts. Local anti-cuts groups in communities and the trade union movement should organise protests against cuts. United strike action by workers can unite all communities against the Stormont politicians austerity and link up with workers in Britain fighting the same battle.