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Northern Ireland news

Cross-border bus services hit by indefinite Bus Éireann strike

An indefinite Bus Éireann strike will affect cross-border services

CROSS-BORDER bus services are to be hit after an Bus Éireann strike begins on Friday.

The National Bus and Rail Union and SIPTU said their members are striking after the company's management decided to implement cost-saving measures without union agreement.

The all-out strike is to carry on indefinitely.

There are also concerns the strike could spread to Iarnrod Éireann and Dublin Bus, also part of the State-owned CIE transport group.

The move means that cross-border services run by Bus Éireann will not be operating until further notice. The strike affects the X1 service between Dublin Airport and Dublin City Centre, stopping at Newry, Banbridge, Sprucefield and Belfast, and the X3 service between Dublin Airport and Dublin City Centre, stopping at Aughnacloy, Ballygawley, Omagh Bus centre, Strabane bus centre, and Derry.

Bus Éireann operates dozens of services on the X1 and X3 routes, including the weekday 10am, 11am, midday, 1pm and 6pm X1 buses from Belfast.

A Translink spokesman said coach services will not be able to pick up or drop off passengers at Busáras, Dublin's main bus depot, but will instead use bus bays at Connolly Station.

"Translink's cross border Goldline coach services, the X2 from Belfast to Dublin Airport and Dublin city centre and X4 from Derry/Londonderry will operate as per normal timetable, and with extra capacity where required," he said.

"However, services on the X1 and X3 timetables, which are shared with Bus Eireann, will be subject to disruption."

Translink urged passengers to check if the service they want is running before they travel.

SIPTU sector organiser, Willie Noone, said the union's members had been "forced" to take strike action.

"Our members know that there is no silver bullet that will provide a solution to the issues faced by Bus Éireann," he said.

"However, in the absence of management presenting a sustainable or equitable plan for the future of the company, which is agreed with workers, it has left our members with no option but to commence strike action."

Bus Éireann said it was "extremely disappointed" by the strike.

"Industrial action will cause major inconvenience to our customers and exacerbate the perilous financial situation at the company," it said in a statement.

It said its losses for January and February this year were 41 per cent higher than the same period last year and it experienced losses of €9.4m in 2016.

"The company is facing insolvency in a few short months and not acting to implement cost savings urgently would be completely irresponsible," it said.

For more information on services affected by the strike, visit www.translink.co.uk or contact the company's call centre on 028 9066 6630

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