Bus Éireann unions have told management that they are prepared to resume talks on cost savings provided managerial grades take their fair share of cuts.

Management and unions at Bus Éireann have so far failed to reach agreement on cost reductions to tackle losses, which are mounting at the rate of €50,000 a day.

The company has warned that without drastic action, it could face insolvency by May.

The Bus Éireann board earlier put it up to unions to clarify in writing whether there was any scope for flexibility on cuts that might permit a resumption of talks to avert insolvency, and/or a strike.

Responding, NBRU General Secretary Dermot O'Leary accepted significant savings are required from the €133 million payroll.

He acknowledged that any such payroll reduction from eradicating inefficiencies may result in lower earnings for some staff, as well as job losses.

However, he insisted there must be "burden-sharing" - with managerial grades absorbing their fair share of cuts.

SIPTU Organiser Willie Noone noted that management had sought immediate savings involving immediate pay cuts for some employees.

However, he too said a senior management contribution to savings had not been identified.

He also voiced concern about the immediate timeframe for the cuts.

Bus Éireann said it would not be responding at this time - so it is unclear when or indeed whether talks may resume.

If the company implements controversial cost cuts without union agreement, the 2,600 strong workforce will immediately commence an all-out indefinite strike - disrupting up to 110,000 passengers daily. 

But if the board members back away from conflict, without addressing those mounting losses, they could find themselves facing allegations of reckless trading.

The stakes are now extremely high. An indefinite strike would have serious consequences for workers, who could be on the picket line losing wages.

But if management warnings of the threat of insolvency are true, then not just pay, but all 2,600 actual jobs could be in jeopardy.

If Bus Éireann customers discover private competitors during industrial action, they may never come back - dealing yet another blow to the struggling company.