SIPTU has called on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, to immediately initiate a process aimed at resolving the dispute at Irish Rail in order to ensure a solution is in place before a second 24-hour work stoppage by staff scheduled for next Tuesday (7th November). SIPTU TEAC Division Organiser, Greg Ennis, said: “Shane Ross has been aware of the massive underfunding and industrial relations issues in Irish Rail for a very long-time but has done nothing to resolve them. “We have now ended up with a situation where Irish Rail staff have been forced to take industrial action to highlight the significant issues at the company. It is time for Ross to accept his responsibilities and initiate a process involving all the stakeholders to ensure that the crisis in Irish Rail is speedily resolved." He added: “If he continues to sit on his hands and do nothing the current dispute will worsen, with four more days of industrial action already scheduled while a further escalation in the lead up to Christmas is an unfortunate but very real possibility.” SIPTU Organiser, Paul Cullen, said: “Today, there have been erroneous claims made in the media about the efficiency of private bus operators in comparison to the public rail company. It has been claimed that private bus companies operate without any State subsidy. This fails to take into account the massive capital investment by the State in the motorway and road network on which private buses operate. Only a fraction of this is paid for in terms of tolls or road taxes. “On the other hand, with the increase in passenger numbers, Irish Rail operations have returned to profit. The problem is that the company and its workforce are expected to subsidise years of underfunding by the Government of rail infrastructure. The failure to recognise this reality highlights the biased  nature of the claims relating to the efficiency of private buses as opposed to public trains.”