A FRANTIC bid begins today to avert industrial action at Bus Eireann.
The Labour Relations Commission has invited unions and management to the talks to prevent industrial action from Sunday.
Members of the National Bus and Rail Union have threatened to down tools on Sunday, while SIPTU and the TSSA plan to mount pickets next Thursday.
The threat of industrial action is in response to the company's plan to impose cuts to its 2,500 workers' benefits, including premium pay, expenses and holiday leave, from Sunday.
Although management and the three unions have accepted the invitation to talks, the threat of industrial action had still not been suspended last night.
Bus Eireann said it still planned to enforce the cuts to reduce its payroll by €9m.
General secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union, Michael Faherty, said if Bus Eireann was serious about talks then it would have to withdraw the threat of cuts.
Meanwhile, the company denied the fact that its chairman being based in the Middle East would make any difference to the situation.
Bus Eireann said Paul Mallee, who is non-executive chairman of the semi-state company, was in "constant contact" with its senior management team, "given the current situation".