Drivers to ‘shut down’ public bus services across Northern Ireland in 7-day strike

Drivers for Ulsterbus are due to take part in a seven day strike over pay, unions have said.

The strike, due to take place on Monday April 25, could also see major disruption to schools.

Unite the union with the GMB union confirmed strike action by workers in Ulsterbus, Metro and Translink.

Translink said it is ‘disappointed’ in the decision adding that it had made a ‘fair and reasonable offer’ after extensive negotiatiions including with the Labour Relations Agency.

Dublin bus.

The firm added it wanted to engage with the unions on covering school duties ‘so that the well being of schoolchildren can remain a priority’.

A spokesperson for Unite said: “The strike action planned will be a week starting 25 April and concluding on 1 May and a single day on Friday May 6.

“The strike comes after members of the union overwhelmingly voted for industrial action after rejecting the latest Translink management pay offer.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham expressed her support for the striking bus workers: “These bus workers are frontline workers – they deserve respect and a pay increase. Translink needs to grasp that there’s a cost of living crisis destroying the value of wages and return with a more acceptable offer.

“Unite’s members have my full support and that of their union in taking this strike action for fairer pay.”

Unite deputy Regional Secretary Davy Thompson is lead officer for Translink, Northern Ireland’s bus and rail public transport provider. He added: “Unite represents the overwhelming majority of bus workers, and this strike action taken in conjunction with GMB which also represents bus workers will shut down all bus services.

“Bus workers deserve a pay increase. The ball is in the court of Translink management. They can to avoid this unnecessary and highly disruptive strike – they need to address our members’ legitimate pay expectations.”

A Translink spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the Unite and GMB Bus Driver Trade Unions have voted to take industrial action.

“Following extensive negotiations, including with the Labour Relations Agency, we made a pay offer of 3% plus an enhanced package of conditions that included a 7% increase in weekend and overtime rates along with 2 extra days holiday.

“We believe this was a fair and reasonable offer and have at all times been open to discussions. We remain committed to working with the unions to avert this action.

“We would welcome the opportunity to engage with unions to cover school duties, so that the wellbeing of schoolchildren can remain a priority.

“All train services will continue to operate as normal.

“We will communicate relevant passenger information through the media, on our website www.translink.co.uk, through social media, in stations and on buses and trains.

“Translink apologises for any inconvenience this may cause”.

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