How it came to this
Bus Eireann has been in financial trouble since the recession kicked in – losing €27m over the past five years.
Passenger numbers have fallen, fuel prices have risen and its state subsidy has been cut.
It drew up cost-cutting plans, which included a 20pc cut to a range of allowance and expense payments, a reduction of overtime rates, longer working hours and a cut in shift payments.
The Labour Court recommended last February that these be accepted, but they were opposed by unions.
The National Bus and Rail Unions (NBRU) warned Bus Eireann that it would go on strike if the company implemented these cuts. It has now done so, claiming that the bus company has breached workers' contracts.
But Bus Eireann has said the action is unofficial and illegal and maintains it has not received any credible or viable alternatives from the trade unions that will provide the same level of savings.
SIPTU, which also represents members in Bus Eireann, is due to release the results of its ballot for industrial action on Thursday. Its members are not passing the NBRU pickets at Bus Eireann depots.