Latest: Dublin Bus and Irish Rail staff to be balloted on industrial action 'in support of Bus Éireann staff'

Update - 5.50pm: The National Bus and Railworkers Union has called today's statement from management at Bus Éireann "bizarre and extraordinary".

The General Secretary of the NBRU, Dermot O'Leary, said: "This statement from Bus Éireann is nothing short of bizarre and extraordinary, given that 2,500 staff have been on strike for four days in response to the imposition of cuts to pay and conditions, resulting from the correspondence to all staff on the 22nd March.

"The notion that alternatives to work practice changes and a voluntary severance programme would be entertained, would appear to indicate that the company may go down the road of compulsory redundancies which, if pursued would be unprecedented in the semi-state sector.

"Compulsorily laying off staff will open a completely different and potentially uncontrollable dimension to this dispute, and will present severe difficulties in trying to maintain the already fragile industrial peace across other companies within the CIE Group."

Mr O'Leary said the union remain committed to talking "around an efficiency-based agenda" in order to resolve the dispute.

Update - 5pm: SIPTU have announced that its members in Dublin Bus and Irish Rail are to be balloted for industrial action in support of Bus Éireann workers.

SIPTU representatives of Dublin Bus, Irish Rail and Bus Éireann held a meeting in Liberty Hall today to discuss a planned protest in support of staff at Bus Éireann.

They are to hold the protest at Leinster House on Wednesday when the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, is due to attend the Oireachtas transport committee.

SIPTU's Willie Noone said: “The representatives agreed that the protest should be supported as it is a means of highlighting the failure of the Minister to take responsibility for the dysfunctional state of the public transport service. We are encouraging members of the public and of the union, including those who work in the public transport sector and are available, to attend the protest.

"The meeting also gave a mandate for a ballot for industrial action of union members in Dublin Bus and Irish Rail in sympathy with and in support of their colleagues in Bus Éireann. They believe that they are next in the firing line if management in Bus Éireann is allowed to force through cuts to wages and changes to conditions of employment of their staff."

Update - 4.15pm: Management at Bus Éireann have presented proposals to the board of the company which they have said will secure the firm's future.

It comes as the Bus Éireann strike is continues on its fourth day with no end in sight to the dispute over cost cutting plans.

They said that they were unable to sign off on a budget for this year, due to the dispute with workers, and claimed that they will not be able to fund a voluntary redundancy scheme unless a plan is agreed for the year.

It includes "cost efficiencies with employees" to eliminate what the operator called "grossly inefficient work practices", which they have said have been acknowledged by the unions during discussions at the Workplace Relations Commission.

Management said: "The board remain gravely concerned that losses continue to accelerate at Bus Éireann, exacerbated now by four days of strike action.

"Regrettably, today the board could not sign off accounts for 2016, or pass a budget for 2017 in the absence of agreement with staff. This is a very serious matter as the board must now formally advise CIÉ that this governance requirement will not be met.

"Without a plan which encompasses the necessary work practice changes to generate savings, it will not be possible to fund a voluntary redundancy scheme and faced with that scenario, the Board of Directors will have no option but to consider other measures to prevent the business becoming insolvent."

They concluded by unions to agree a survival plan to prevent insolvency and provide a viable future for the company.

Earlier: Thousands of commuters are facing travel chaos again this morning.

The Bus Éireann strike is now entering it's fourth day with no end in sight to the dispute over cost cutting plans.

The indefinite action by union members is said to be costing the operator who face insolvency, hundreds of thousands of euro each day.

SIPTU organiser Willie Noone says his members are frustrated: "They know they have no choice but to do what they are doing.

"They also know that their time out on the picket line is going to be fairly limited because according to the company themselves they are losing €500,000 a day.

"A seven day strike is going to cost €3.5m.

"If we go on strike for two weeks it is going to be €7m.

"The company has said themselves they have only got €7m left on reserve, so there are only seven days left."

Iarnród Éireann meanwhile is assuring passengers that ALL services are operating on ALL routes today.

Many trains were cancelled last week when drivers refused to cross pickets at the stations they share with Bus Éireann.

However Irish Rail management claim they don't expect any more disruption today and are stressing that they're not part of the strike.


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