Bus Éireann has responded strongly to threats of strike action from unions after it announced plans to restructure its Expressway scheduled coach division, and said that it "cannot afford" a pay rise.
Expressway services "must be positioned to compete more intensively in a low margin market," adds Bus Éireann.
Unions claim that it plans to split Expressway services – which are not subsidised – from the remainder of its network and impose less favourable terms and conditions on staff working for the Expressway division.
In return, Bus Éireann says that increased competition from low-cost operators has caused Expressway's financial position to worsen in 2016, with losses projected to hit €6m.
The business requires immediate cost savings of €7m, and says that Expressway services must generate a profit to survive.
Cost savings will be achieved internally, it adds, and management has prepared plans to transform Expressway.
The unions made threats of strike action following pay talks. One union representative says the pay claim has been referred to the Labour Court, but Bus Éireann has stated flatly that it "cannot afford a pay rise."