Talks to resolve Bus Éireann dispute break down with no agreement
Talks aimed at resolving the protracted Bus Éireann dispute have broken down without agreement.
Unions representing staff and the struggling company will now move the dispute to the Labour Court.
In a statement Bus Éireann said:
"After 16 days of intensive negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission, talks have broken down without agreement. The unions have now referred a number of issues to the Labour Court and the company have agreed to attend. The company have sought an early hearing given the urgency of the financial situation.
"While progress was made and agreement was reached to eliminate many work practise inefficiencies, an offer made by the company that would help to deliver financial viability was rejected by the Trade Unions representing the driver grade.
"We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused as a result of the ongoing industrial action.
"Bus Éireann would like to sincerely thank the Workplace Relations Commission for facilitating talks and assisting the company through this process."
General secretary of the NBRU Dermot O'Leary suggested that parties outside of the negotiating process could be exerting "undue influence" on the course of the proceedings.
"Despite the best efforts of the WRC, it is unfortunate that we have been unable to reach a resolution to the issues in dispute at Bus Éireann. The Trade Unions, as part of this process were prepared to contribute upwards of €18m towards the savings required to resolve the financial crisis," he said.
It is understood that one of the issues which has led to the matter being moved to the Labour Court is that agreement could not be reached on a new rate of pay for drivers.
The dispute centres on cost-cutting measures in the company.
Workers will remain on the picket line today, 19 days into the strike which has ground much of the country's transport network to a halt.
Bus Éireann has claimed it is losing €500,000 per day and will now seek a fast-tracked meeting at the Labour Court amid fears it is nearing collapse.
Proposals tabled at the WRC in the latest round of talks include a reduction of the company's payroll bill and a voluntary redundancy scheme.