School transport: Education Authority to be hit by more strikes

The Education Authority (EA) has been informed of further strike dates by members of the Unite trade union, which overlaps with the expected strike by bus drivers employed by Translink.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 4:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2022, 5:18 pm
Yellow school bus
Yellow school bus

Schools have already warned of disruption to transport expected from the strike by EA workers, who are responsible for the so-called ‘yellow buses’ relied upon by children who attend special schools across Northern Ireland.

Unite members in the EA are to strike from April 26 to May 1, and again from May 3 to May 8.

Translink bus drivers from both the Unite and GMB trade unions, meanwhile, are to go on strike for a week from April 25, and again for one day on May 6 — the same day votes are expected to be counted following the Assembly elections.

Kieran Ellison, Unite regional officer, expressed concern about the level of bureaucracy involved in the negotiations between Unite staff and the Education Authority.

Speaking to the News Letter, Mr Ellison said: “The Education Authority had a meeting with us, and at that meeting they have committed to getting a business case together for the Department of Education so that we can enter into what I would hope to be meaningful negotiations between the EA and all the trade unions in EA.

“From there, if we get anywhere in that process, a further business case needs to be written by the EA to the Department seeking funding to implement what has hopefully been agreed at that stage.

“That will then need to be referred to the Department of Finance. We would have genuine concerns at the levels of bureaucracy that they have to go through.”

He added: “The cost of living crisis is here and now. People are struggling right now.”