EARLY morning traffic chaos is expected in Cork tomorrow as Bus Éireann drivers commenced an all-out indefinite strike from midnight tonight.
Notice of the strike was issued this afternoon.
School runs will not be affected, but union officials say that school buses, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail could all become part of the dispute in the future.
Drivers say they have been left with no alternative but to strike after management implemented wide-sweeping cuts and cost-saving measures without union agreement this week.
It came after weeks of on-again, off-again talks, with two previous plans for strike action postponed at the eleventh hour.
However, there was no such luck for commuters this time, with drivers set to picket Parnell Place bus station and the Capwell bus depot from 4am tomorrow morning.
They say the strike will continue for as long as it takes.
John Moloney, Cork bus driver and president of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), hit out at Bus Éireann management for pushing drivers to the brink.
Previous threats of strike action had been averted after management and union officials agreed to further talks.
However, the decision by Bus Éireann's Acting CEO Ray Hernan to implement immediate reforms earlier this week was the final straw.
There was no basis for convening further talks, according to union officials.
Mr Moloney said, "From day one, we were given no alternative. We tried to work with management to find a solution but we weren't given the chance to do that.
"The reductions and the changes to driver terms and conditions are unsustainable."