The Labour Court will not be intervening in the current dispute over pay and cost cuts at Bus Éireann.
Before Christmas, a Labour Court hearing on a 21% pay claim had to be halted because management refused to engage on pay in isolation from discussions on a survival plan of cost reductions.
Today, unions said the Labour Court had told the parties that there was no viability in reinvigorating the pre-Christmas process on the pay claim.
Bus Éireann management was meeting with representatives of the National Bus and Rail Union and SIPTU.
They said that in order for the court to be of assistance, it would have to be through normal procedures.
Speaking after the brief meeting at the Labour Court, NBRU General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said that by calling the parties in this afternoon, the Labour Court was making it clear that its role in the pay claim process is now finished.
SIPTU Divisional Organiser Greg Ennis said that as far as the union was concerned, the management move was an attempt to short circuit the industrial relations process, adding that the issues in dispute should be dealt with through normal procedures.
He said the unions would be meeting on Thursday to decide their next move.
Bus Éireann has not yet commented on the outcome of the Labour Court meeting.
Its Acting Chief Executive, Ray Hernan, is due to address the Oireachtas Transport committee tomorrow.
Earlier, Bus Éireann unions briefed Oireachtas members on the background to the current dispute.
It is understood that one option proposed for the unions was for Bus Éireann to be re-integrated into the CIE holding company.
Meanwhile, the NBRU has warned that it will not engage with company management while a letter outlining significant cost-cutting proposals remains in existence.
Arriving for the meeting, Mr O'Leary said those proposals would involves cuts to wages in the order of 30% - and under no circumstances would he be attending at any forum on behalf of his members while the letter remains on the table.
He said his union would not engage with the company where there are preconditions set.
Mr O’Leary said the issues went so far beyond industrial relations norms that it would only be resolved around the table with all stakeholders involved.
Last week the company presented unions with cost-cutting proposals including reductions in overtime, premium payments, possible compulsory redundancies and outsourcing.
The company says the measures must be implemented urgently to avert insolvency for the entire Bus Éireann operation, which is under pressure from mounting competition from private operators with lower cost bases.
Yesterday, RTÉ reported that the company is now estimating its losses for 2016 at up to €9m.
However, unions have pledged to resist the cuts which they insist could reduce wages by up to 30%.
The company says it is dedicated to securing the future of Bus Éireann as what it calls a "premium" employer, and to protecting the maximum number of "viable" jobs.
Last December, a Labour Court hearing to address union demands for a 21% pay rise over a number of years was halted because management said they could not engage with the pay claim in isolation from cost cutting measures.
At that time, the Labour Court said it remained available to the parties.
However, it is unclear whether the Labour Court would be prepared to convene a hearing at this point, as industrial sources said they may view the current row over cost cuts as an entirely new dispute on a survival plan, which has not yet been to the Workplace Relations Commission.