Update 9.28pm: Talks between unions and Irish Rail management have broken tonight raising the spectre of widespread rail and commuter disruption in the weeks ahead.
Tonight the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said its members were furious at Irish Rail's contemptuous attitude towards its staff in refusing to offer a meaningful ‘no strings attached’ pay rise after a decade long pay freeze.
General Secretary Dermot O'Leary said that as a result frustration levels were now at a stage whereby the NBRU was left with no choice but to move to a ballot of its members for industral action up to and including all-out strike.
"After a decade long pay hiatus, the expectation of a long overdue pay rise for Irish Rail staff has not materialised.
"Our members have looked at colleagues in the Public Transport Sector enjoying pay increases of up to 3.75%, while Irish Rail is thumbing its nose at its own Staff by making a pitiful offer, at a time when passenger numbers and revenue at Irish Rail are at a historical high, is contemptuous to say the least.
"Sadly the senior Management at the State Company have little or no regard for their workers."
Mr O'Leary went on to say the patience of a beleaguered workforce had run out.
"After today's charade at the WRC, the spectacle of highly paid senior managers being effectively gagged and restricted to offering ‘strings attached’ crumbs to its staff, including the disgraceful caveat of seeking union acquiescence to the closure of rail lines in order to fund a pay rise, has now brought frustration levels to the stage whereby the NBRU is left with no choice but to immediately move to ballot all its members for industrial action up to and including all-out strike, resulting in widespread travel chaos for commuters in the next number of weeks."
Earlier: Thousands of rail passengers face major disruption - unless a deal can be reached between unions and management at Irish Rail.
Both sides are locked in talks at the Workplace Relations Commission this evening.
SIPTU and the NBRU want staff to get a 4% pay hike - and have warned that today’s negotiations are make or break.
Siptu’s Paul Cullen says his members have had enough.
"They have repeatedly avoided the situation of a pay offer despite the fact we have had this pay claim in since March. We are making every effort to try and get a resolution to this situation.