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Irish Rail and Dublin Bus could face delays as Bus Éireann strike comes to Leinster House

It has not yet been confirmed if rail and Dublin bus workers will attend today’s protest.

Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

Updated 7.50am

THE NATIONAL BUS and Rail Union has accused Bus Éireann of “using massaged figures” when reporting on the ailing finances of the company, ahead of a protest at Leinster House today which could see Irish Rail and Dublin Bus services facing delays.

Today’s protest by Bus Éireann workers is set to coincide with the appearance of Minister for Transport Shane Ross before an Oireachtas committee to explain his department’s take and reaction to the strike. Ross has repeatedly refused all calls to intervene in the industrial dispute.

The protest comes on day six of the Bus Éireann strike, with workers refusing to accept cost-cutting measures put forward by the company which says it is in a dire financial situation.

If Irish Rail and Dublin Bus workers turn up to show their support in solidarity with the Bus Éireann workers, it will likely affect services from around midday to early afternoon, before the evening rush hour.

However, Irish Rail indicated this morning that there is no disruption to services confirmed as of yet, and promised to inform customers if the situation changed.

Dublin Bus and Irish Rail workers are set to be balloted next week for industrial action, in the wake of the Bus Éireann strike.

Ahead of the protest today, NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said that Bus Éireann’s increases in financial losses last year is due to “an increase in the depreciation of the fleet, an increase in unexplained professional fees, along with a change to the methodology of projecting the potential cost of third-party insurance claims”.

He added that, for the day that’s in it, that the company’s actual losses were nearer the €6 million mark.

A spokesperson for Bus Éireann told TheJournal.ie that its “accounts have been audited and showed losses of €9.4 million in 2016″.

“That is on the record,” the spokesperson added.

At today’s Oireachtas committee hearing, Shane Ross is expected to reiterate the position that neither he nor the government will intervene directly in an attempt to solve the dispute.

On numerous occasions under questioning from Committee members in the past, Ross rejected calls for him to personally intervene in the dispute, saying that he “wouldn’t get involved” and wouldn’t “take sides”.

School buses

Yesterday, Fianna Fáil spokesperson on education, Thomas Byrne, warned that that students could be left without a bus service from next week due to the ongoing strike at Bus Éireann.

As of now, the school service offered by Bus Éireann is not affected by the strike.

Byrne said that he had seen a letter sent by the company to private operators operating under the scheme that payments these operators are due to receive this Friday would be delayed.

The TD said that there were no administrative staff to process the payment and that private operators had indicated they may withdraw the service should they not receive these payments.

The Bus Éireann spokesperson said: “A technical solution is being put in place which will see contractors being paid next week, who would normally have been paid this week.

The contract agreement which each contractor sets out that payment will be made within 30 days of a correctly completed invoice being received by Bus Éireann. Payments made next week are well within this range.

The spokesperson added that school bus services are continuing to run as normal during the strike.

Read: Over half of people don’t support the Bus Éireann strike

Read: Dublin Bus and Irish Rail workers to ballot for industrial action

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Sean Murray

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