Stark warning over Bus Éireann's future

Acting CEO Ray Hernan will appear before an Oireachtas committee

Stark warning over Bus Éireann's future

Bus Eireann buses pictured in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The acting CEO of Bus Éireann will face questions from TDs and Senators today about the current financial crisis facing the company.

Ray Hernan will appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee where the future of the Expressway Service and the Rural Transport Programme will also be discussed.

Bus Éireann suffered losses worth €8m last year - and unions have pledged to resist proposed cost-cutting measures put forward by the company.

Meanwhile the Labour Court has refused to intervene in the dispute.

SIPTU representatives also attended the Oireachtas Transport Committee Tuesday to discuss the situation.

SIPTU sector organiser, Willie Noone, said: "SIPTU representatives had a constructive engagement with TDs and Senators at the Oireachtas Transport Committee concerning Bus Éireann.

"It is hoped that following the discussions the elected representatives will have a much clearer idea of the true position of the company, its workers and the services it is providing."

Unions have refused to attend direct talks with Bus Éireann management until a highly controversial survival plan involving redundancies, cuts in premium payments and out-sourcing is withdrawn.

Industry correspondent with the Irish Times, Martin Wall, told Newstalk Breakfast the company is running out of options.

"He warns that the entire operation...is now in jeopardy, with all 2,600 jobs at risk, unless decisive action is taken.

"And that is the crux of the issue - what is the decisive action to be taken?

"The company had a strategy...it wanted direct talks on the proposals it put forward last week with the unions - they were rejected.

"Virtually all of the issues in those proposals would be red lines for the unions: redundancies, cuts in premium pay, overtime, allowances, etc.

"The fallback position for the company was it wanted the Labour Court to intervene, it wanted to use a process that had got underway in the Labour Court last year - which was a deal ironically with a pay claim by the staff.

"But the court yesterday brought the parties in and the court basically said it wouldn't be viable to recommence that process.

"One of the questions for the company this morning will be if plan A is gone, plan B is gone - what is plan C?" he added.