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Peace must break out on the buses

IF a planned strike goes ahead at Bus Eireann this Sunday, it will cause huge disruption to the travelling public.

Passengers make 214,000 trips with the company every day. Commuters, tourists, the elderly and others will be greatly inconvenienced if services halt.

Management at the company insists that €20m must be saved. Some €5m could be saved if a Labour Court recommendation to reduce overtime and premium pay is taken on board.

This recommendation does not appear to be wholly unreasonable, but the NBRU, which represents almost half the Bus Eireann workers, has rejected it.

Bus Eireann is at a critical juncture and the very survival of the company is at stake.

To paraphrase Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, there will be no pay to fight over if savings are not made and the company ceases to exist.

Both sides must re-engage in the coming 48 hours. The stakes for passengers, workers and the company itself could not be higher.