Republic of Ireland news

Transport staff to vote on 'sympathy' strike in support of Bus Éireann walkout

A strike at Bus Éireann could spread to Dublin Bus and Irish Rail
Brian Hutton

DUBLIN Bus and Irish Rail workers are to vote on a "sympathy" strike in support of the walkout at Bus Éireann.

The threatened escalation in transport upheaval was revealed shortly after Bus Éireann bosses said they could not sign off on their accounts as a result of its ongoing financial crisis.

In a statement yesterday, the state company's board of directors said it was also unable to set a budget for the year ahead.

The bosses warned that a voluntary redundancy scheme - which was expected to shed around 300 jobs - could not be funded without a financial plan in place.

Bus Éireann "will have no option but to consider other measures to prevent the business becoming insolvent", it added.

The directors said they are "gravely concerned" at losses continuing to accelerate at the company, which it says has been exacerbated by strike action.

They appealed for union leaders to agree a survival plan to prevent it collapsing.

But trade union Siptu said the strike could now spread to Dublin Bus and Irish Rail.

Willie Noone, Siptu organiser, said a mandate has been secured for "a ballot for industrial action of union members in Dublin Bus and Irish Rail in sympathy with and in support of their colleagues in Bus Éireann."

He added: "They believe that they are next in the firing line if management in Bus Éireann is allowed to force through cuts to wages and changes to conditions of employment of their staff."

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