Talks between Iarnród Éireann management and unions aimed at averting potential strike action over the Bank holiday weekend have broken down without agreement.

A spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann said that while some progress had been made, the parties had been unable to bridge the differences between them.

In a statement, Iarnród Éireann said it "moved its position to offering a 1.75% increase for one year, to be facilitated by measures including performance management, absenteeism management, revisions to redeployment policy and payroll." 

It said it "committed to discussing more substantive productivity issues to fund further improvements in earnings beyond the one year agreement in a defined period."

They say this was not accepted by trade unions.

They stated an urge for its trade unions to refer outstanding issues to the Labour Court, rather than balloting for industrial action, and say that any threatened industrial action will only further worsen its financial position, weakening its ability to improve employees' earnings, and cause uncertainty and disruption to travel plans.

Unions have already balloted for strike action in their dispute over pay and the result of that ballot is due tomorrow.

Arriving for the talks earlier, SIPTU Divisional Organiser Greg Ennis said his members had not had a pay rise for ten years, and were no longer prepared to subsidise an under-funded company.

Iarnród Éireann is currently carrying accumulated losses of €160 million, and when asked about the fact, Mr Ennis said the company was underfunded to the tune of €125 million.

He said that there had been a report on the desk of Minister for Transport Shane Ross for months to that effect about which he had done nothing.

Mr Ennis accused the company and Mr Ross of "mind-blowing" intransigence - and warned that if a deal was not reached, there could be strike action over the Bank Holiday weekend and in the run up to Christmas.

The National Bus and Rail Union General Secretary Dermot O'Leary echoed the warning of industrial action.

Iarnród Éireann Director of Human Resources Ciaran Masterson said the company had to consider what was best for the business and for staff within its financial constraints. 

He said the company believed there was potential to achieve an overall agreement.