If talks with Citybus fail, commuters may have 20 minutes added to today's trips Last-ditch talks between Citybus drivers and company managers were under way early this morning in an attempt to head off the threat of industrial action. Commuters have been warned they may have to leave for work up to 20 minutes earlier this morning if both sides fail to come to an agreement by 5am, a union spokesman said. About a quarter of Citybus' drivers and some colleagues at New World First Bus have threatened a 'work-to-rule' campaign if Citybus managers do not make concessions on pay cuts, staff discipline and union activities. Although the two companies operate under different franchises, they have the same parent company, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises. If the action goes ahead, drivers in urban areas will not go faster than 30km/h, while on highways, they will limit themselves to 50km/h. Passengers will only be allowed to embark and disembark directly in front of bus stops, creating long queues of buses at some stops. Citybus Staff Union chairman Mui Kam-wing said the protest could also involve drivers sticking to the left lane and refusing to overtake other vehicles. He said up to 1,000 drivers were expected to take part if the protest went ahead. The action would slow commutes by at least 10 to 20 minutes along key roads from the start of the morning bus schedule until 10am, when the protest is scheduled to end. The protest was planned if the drivers failed to reach consensus with Citybus over such matters as typhoon allowances, annual pay increments and being allowed to post union news on company notice boards. Mr Mui also said the union was worried that the bus operator would accelerate the hiring of new drivers on contract rather than to permanent positions. 'The company is insincere ... so they leave us no choice but to take this action. We're sorry if we inconvenience the public,' he said. The Citybus Staff Union is one of two drivers' unions and has an estimated 600 members out of nearly 2,300 drivers. Several hundred First Bus drivers are expected to join the protest if there is no deal. Both Citybus and New World First Bus will deploy additional supervisors on bus routes to ensure that traffic runs smoothly throughout the morning. The Transport Department said it would monitor the effects of any industrial action. A senior source at Chow Tai Fook said the drivers' grievances were a 'red herring' and the industrial action was really in response to 'unfounded rumours that we plan to merge the two bus companies and lay off a thousand 1,000 drivers'.