Bus Éireann passengers face the prospect of industrial disruption from Sunday after the company insisted it is pressing ahead with the implementation of cost-reduction measures.

The company has warned that it must implement the cuts because of its difficult financial situation, despite the fact that unions have refused to accept the changes.

The measures include cuts in overtime and premium payments, annual and sick leave, as well as longer working hours for administrative staff. Core pay and jobs would be protected.

The company said that if it did not implement the Labour Court recommendation, it was highly likely it would breach company law within a month, because it has a "precariously low level of net assets".

Under Section 40 of the Companies (Amendment) Act 1983, where shareholder funds no longer exceed 50% of the called-up share capital, the company is required to convene an Extraordinary General Meeting of its shareholders to consider what actions should be taken to deal with the situation.

The Labour Court acknowledged that significant reductions in the company's cost base, including payroll costs, were essential to ensure its future and protect jobs.

The court recommendation would deliver approximately €5m in payroll savings.

The spokesperson said that without those necessary savings from changes to terms and conditions and ongoing inter-city service changes, Bus Éireann was facing unsustainable annual losses of over €11m.

He said that industrial action would further increase those losses, meaning that core wages and employment levels would come under scrutiny to obtain savings.

Bus Éireann reiterated that unlike those directly employed in the public and civil service who would have jobs to return to after any industrial action, Bus Éireann employees might not.

Unions are continuing to ballot for industrial action in the event that the company proceeds with the cost reduction measures.