Three-day transport workers strike suspended following pay talks with Translink

​The planned three days of strike action by transport workers this week has been suspended following talks between the trade unions and Translink bosses.
Translink buses in Foyle Street, Londonderry. Photo: George SweeneyTranslink buses in Foyle Street, Londonderry. Photo: George Sweeney
Translink buses in Foyle Street, Londonderry. Photo: George Sweeney

A 72-hour stoppage had been due to take place between midnight on Tuesday and midnight on Thursday.

​However, all three trade unions involved in the negotiations on Sunday have said the industrial action will not now take place as planned.

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In a statement, they said: “Following an improved pay offer by Translink the three public transport trade unions (Unite, GMB and SIPTU), will suspend the forthcoming strike action and will ballot their memberships on the new offer.

"Pay negotiations between the transport unions and Translink management were reconvened today (Sunday) following the rejection of an initial pay offer by management on Thursday."

The statement goes on to say: “Following the receipt of an improved pay offer for all Translink employees workforce reps suspended the planned 72-hour strike action set for 00.01 on Tuesday.

"Workers in all three trade unions will now be balloted on the offer.”

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When union members were balloted in November and voted in favour of industrial action, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham laid the blame for the subsequent strike days with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

“Chris Heaton-Harris has imposed a brutal budget settlement on the Department for Infrastructure which provides no funding for a pay increase for bus and rail workers,” she said.

"Translink workers have voted overwhelmingly for strike action – the Secretary of State must now intervene to properly fund public transport in order to avoid what will be a debilitating and disruption strike action on the public transport system”.

Last week, Stormont ministers agreed to release £688 million to make outstanding pay awards for public sector workers in Northern Ireland.

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Individual departments have each been given an allocation to negotiate with relevant trade unions on the pay rises that will be introduced this year.

However, unrest among unions demanding pay parity with the rest of the UK has continued.