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'It certainly must stick in the craw of the workers' - Shane Ross lambasted for photo of night out with Amanda Brunker

Talks aimed at bringing the Bus Éireann strike to an end broke down this morning.

Updated 18.17

SOLIDARITY/PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT have taken aim at Transport Minister Shane Ross for remaining aloof from the ongoing Bus Éireann strike talks.

Earlier today, those talks broke down without agreement meaning the strike is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Speaking to the media this afternoon outside Leinster House, Solidarity TDs Richard Boyd Barrett and Ruth Coppinger suggested that the public should be behind the striking workers as “their fight is your fight”.

Boyd Barrett in particular took aim at a photo Ross had found himself in with socialite Amanda Brunker, in which he is seen sporting a feather boa at a recent fundraising night at Naomh Olaf GAA club in Sandyford, south Dublin.

“I didn’t see photo, but it certainly must stick in the craw of the workers who’ve been out on the picket line for 18 days, whose families are suffering, who don’t want to be on strike, but who have no choice but to protect themselves from savage cuts to their pay, and the likelihood that their jobs themselves can be taken from them,” he said.

It really is pretty insulting, that Shane Ross won’t engage with them but seems to be able to enjoy himself.

The photo was taken on Sunday at a fundraiser for new changing rooms for Naomh Olaf’s female teams, an event that the Minister apparently agreed to attend some months ago, according to Brunker (who DailyEdge.ie reports is on very friendly terms with Ross).

“Shane Ross’ ideology is opposed to the public sector, to unions. He was out getting the thumbs up from Michael O’Leary and I think that says it all about the direction that he’d like to see Bus Éireann and other companies take,” said Coppinger.

bus eir The cheque being presented outside the gates of Leinster House Source: Facebook/Solidarity

The Solidarity TDs presented a cheque for €2,000 to the striking workers “to assist them in their struggle”, money sourced from the party’s own coffers.

“We we opposed the pay rise for TDs, none of us takes more than the average industrial wage, and the excess is used for exactly this kind of thing, to support ordinary people because that benefits change in society,” said Coppinger.

Earlier

In a statement this morning, the company said that the talks at the Workplace Relations Commission had been unsuccessful.

They said that progress had been made on some issues, but an overall deal not reached.

“After 16 days of intensive negotiations at the Workplace Relations Commission, talks have broken down without agreement. The unions have now referred a number of issues to the Labour Court and the company have agreed to attend. The company have sought an early hearing given the urgency of the financial situation.

“While progress was made and agreement was reached to eliminate many work practise inefficiencies, an offer made by the company that would help to deliver financial viability was rejected by the Trade Unions representing the driver grade.

“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused as a result of the ongoing industrial action.

“Bus Éireann would like to sincerely thank the Workplace Relations Commission for facilitating talks and assisting the company through this process.”

The National Bus and Rail Union said that “other agencies” had influenced the talks.

“The Trade Unions, as part of this process were prepared to contribute upwards of €18m towards the savings required to resolve the financial crisis.

“It would appear to us that other agencies that were not party to the discussions at the WRC have been applying undue influence on the proceedings, restricting the ability of Bus Éireann to actually reach agreement, the issues between the parties will now be referred to the Labour Court for consideration, it would seem that there are forces at play here which would prefer to see the demise of Bus Éireann, rather than concentrate on securing its future, for the benefit of staff and commuters alike.”

The strike is now into its 19th day.

Additional reporting Cianan Brennan and Christina Finn

First published 7am

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