In a joint statement the Bus Éireann trade union group, which includes SIPTU, the NBRU, Unite, TSSA and TEEU, said: “Staff at the state-owned Bus Éireann provide up to 40,000 economically and socially vital weekly services across the country. They deserve more from the shareholder than to have the company that they and many generations of bus workers help build, unravel before their eyes in a policy induced meltdown. “All five unions are now calling on the Minister for Transport to provide leadership and do the right thing by both commuters and staff by facilitating a forum, without preconditions, through which all stakeholders can play a role in resolving both the immediate crisis at Bus Éireann and provide a platform that will ensure that a long term vision, and ultimately a public transport plan can finally be put in place. This would end the constant and reactionary specter of firefighting the industrial action inferno that inevitable follows from crisis to crisis such as we are witnessing today.” The Group added: “If as has been suggested, Bus Éireann move to unilaterally impose cuts, already described by the Minister himself as severe, then we will be left with no option but to respond accordingly. The Trade Union Group will reconvene in advance of the imposition of such cuts to consider all options in relation to industrial action. However, those that would expect that workers will immediately resort to type and shut down the entire Bus Éireann Network do so through an ignorance that comes from being detached from the relationship between commuters and staff. “Our members have insisted that we factor into our debate on any forced industrial action that many of their passengers and school children, particularly in rural areas, rely almost exclusively on Bus Éireann services, with a view to minimising the impact on those commuters. In the meantime, we will be acceding to requests from staff at Iarnród Éireann and Dublin Bus for extensive briefings on the threat to their colleagues’ wages.”