Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Robert Troy TD says the breakdown of talks between unions and management at Bus Éireann is a worrying development which only serves to prolong the dispute.

Deputy Troy made the comments as the all-out strike at the semi-state company entered its 18th day. The dispute has now been referred to the Labour Court.

“The breakdown of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission is disappointing as there was a feeling in recent days that some progress was being made. The industrial action has been ongoing for nearly three weeks and some 100,000 people right across the country have been left without a transport service. These people are growing increasingly frustrated by the failure of unions and management to strike a compromise to help bring the industrial action to an end,” said Deputy Troy.

“The decision to refer the dispute to an early hearing of the Labour Court is a sensible one given the enormity of the situation. There is a real prospect that Bus Éireann may be forced to enter into administration in the coming days should the dispute remain unresolved. This would be a disaster for passengers, workers and Bus Éireann as a company. There is an onus on both unions and management to proactively engage with the Labour Court and give firm commitments that they will accept its final ruling.

“It’s disappointing to see Minister Ross continue to take a completely hands off approach to this dispute. The Minister has been aware of the deep structural problems facing Bus Éireann for nearly a year now. Despite this he failed to take corrective action and has allowed the company to reach a cliff edge. Tens of thousands of passengers in areas such as Cork, Limerick and Galway are furious with the approach he has taken to date.

“At this late stage Minister Ross continues to refuse to convene parallel talks between all stakeholders at Bus Éireann with the aim of overcoming the deep structural problems facing the company. It’s a sad state of affairs when the Minister for Transport has no thoughts or potential solutions to help overcome the most destructive transport strike to hit the country in decades,” concluded Deputy Troy.