Updated: 29/03/17 : 13:04:46
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Bus and Rail drivers to protest as Ross appears before Transport Committee

Minister for Transport Shane Ross is due to appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee today, the sixth day of the Bus Éireann strike.

Mr Ross has said it is for Bus Éireann management and unions to try to resolve the row between themselves.

RTÉ
reports that a protest in support of Bus Éireann workers who are on strike is planned outside Leinster House to coincide with the committee meeting at 1.30pm.

Both Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann have confirmed that there has been no disruption to their services as the protest gets under way.

There had been fears that workers from Iarnrod Éireann and Dublin Bus might leave work to join the protest, however, as of early afternoon there was no disruption to rail or Dublin Bus services.

Bus Éireann workers have taken indefinite strike action due to a dispute over management's decision to implement a survival plan for the State-owned company without union agreement.

Around 110,000 Bus Éireann customers are affected by the strike.

The board of Bus Éireann met earlier this week to consider management proposals for a survival plan including up to 300 redundancies.

The strike is estimated to be costing the company around €500,000 a day, though unions have disputed that figure.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said no attempt is being made by the Government to solve the dispute in Bus Éireann.

He told the Dáil the dispute would have been resolved by now if it affected the capital.

He said there was inertia and paralysis in the Minister for Transport's reaction to the dispute.

"I would put it to you, if this was Dublin Bus, if it was affecting the capital it would have been resolved much earlier" he said.

He said one senses that there is a hidden agenda to undermine the very concept of a public transport company.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said the Workplace Relations Commission had dealt with 1,400 cases involving the CIE group, and had resolved 85% of these.

"The Government is standing behind the WRC and the Labour Court as the only forum in relation to that being done again.

"I, and Government, is (sic) absolutely committed to public transport, and the viability of Bus Éireann, this is why €263m was made available to support bus and rail in this State" he said.

"It is exactly because the WRC have played a leading role in dealing with IR difficulties in the CIE group alone - that is the only forum to deal with the current difficulties" Mr Donohoe said.