Bus drivers have delivered their threatened strike in Ireland – causing chaos for commuters and embarrassment for the government.
Over 50,000 passengers have been left stranded by the strike which began at midnight on Saturday and effects services across the country.
The Bus Eireann strike is being carried out by workers affiliated to the National Bus and Rail Union in protest at the implementation of a $7million cost-cutting plan.
The drivers had offered to hold talks with the company on Saturday in an effort to avert the industrial action which is set to continue on Monday.
The Irish Independent reports that no contact was made between the company and the workers in recent days.
NBRU general secretary Michael Faherty claimed he has sympathy for the travelling public.
He added: “The company has forced the action by implementing a cost-cutting plan which is a breach of contract of employment.”
A spokesman for Bus Eireann said it had not received any credible and viable alternatives from the trade unions ‘that will provide the same level of savings needed to keep staffing and service levels’.
Bus Éireann employs 2,500 people, with the NBRU representing 1,000 of the workforce.
Its members claim the proposed cuts could see some workers lose up to $5,000 a year in pay.
The union had backed a 20 per cent cut to a range of allowance and expense payments, a reduction of overtime rates, longer working hours and a cut in shift payments.
The Government has warned that the loss making company will not be financially viable if it does not impose cuts.