SIPTU members in Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, 31st March) to consider balloting for industrial action following the breakdown of talks, facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), on plans to privatise 10% of public bus services. SIPTU Utilities and Construction Division Organiser, Owen Reidy, said: “The talks, between representatives of the transport unions, the National Transport Authority (NTA), CIE and the Department of Transport, broke down today following a threat by the NTA to implement the privatisation of routes without agreement with unions.“SIPTU opposes any privatisation of public bus routes. However, our members accept that if such a process is going to be implemented there must be agreement on what impact it will have on workers in terms of transferring to new employers, pension entitlements and other areas of concern.”SIPTU Sector Organiser, Willie Noone, said: “These talks had been going on for several months. SIPTU had submitted a number of questions to the NTA in relation to our members' concerns. Today, the NTA responded to these questions in a completely unsatisfactory manner, which fails to indicate how key issues such as the transfer of undertakings and legacy costs will be dealt with if routes are privatised.“Without an adequate response to these issues it is impossible for our members to agree to participate in the NTA plans. However, when this was indicated to the NTA its representatives threatened to implement the privatisation of routes without agreement. It was at this point that SIPTU representatives withdrew from the talks and will not re-enter them until the threat is lifted.“Tomorrow members of SIPTU Bus Éireann and SIPTU Dublin Bus committees will meet to discuss what course of action to take in light of the NTA threat. These meetings will consider the holding of a ballot for industrial action, up to and including strike action.”