Bus Éireann and its unions were last night immersed in talks at the Labour Relations Commission aimed at ending the industrial action that has crippled services for 80,000 passengers a day since Sunday.
Bus Éireann said over 95% of its services were off the road yesterday as a result of the strike action by the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and the fact that Siptu are not crossing the pickets.
The only routes which it was able to continue were for schools, those operated by GoBe, and routes to the North, which its northern equivalent Translink could provide.
The company said at this stage the loss of services could not get any worse but, unless the union calls off or moderates its action, it also cannot get any better.
It was, however, able to confirm that school transport services should operate as normal today.
Siptu shop stewards of all the CIÉ companies are to meet this morning to discuss their response to the escalating dispute. The union has also requested Ictu convenes a meeting today of all the Ictu-affiliated unions in CIÉ.
It expects its ballot result will be in favour of strike action and said it believes Dublin Bus and Irish Rail are planning similar cuts to workers pay, terms and conditions as management in Bus Éireann.
The Government has been accused of inflaming the situation by saying the unions need to bring alternative proposals for cost-saving measures to any new negotiations.
Michael Faherty of NBRU said individual unions cannot be expected to formulate terms which might benefit their members to the detriment of other unions’ members and such proposals could only emerge under mediated negotiations with the company involving all unions together.
If, however, no solution can be found, it is looking likely the onus for forcing a resolution will fall on the Government as the biggest shareholder in Bus Éireann.
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