Bus drivers vote for strike action in pay dispute | Translink ‘apologises for any inconvenience this may cause’

Bus drivers from two trade unions have voted to take strike action over a pay offer from Translink.

By Gemma Murray
Thursday, 7th April 2022, 1:06 pm

The action could see all Ulsterbus and Metro bus services withdrawn for one week from April 25.

The public transport union Unite said the industrial action had the potential to “paralyse all bus services” in Northern Ireland.

A Translink spokesperson said the company was disappointed by the vote taken by the Unite and GMB unions and said it was working to avoid the action.

File photo dated 08/11/21 of a Translink Metro bus parked in Belfast City centre, as bus drivers from two trade unions have voted to take strike action over a pay offer from Translink. PA Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 7, 2022. The action could see all Ulsterbus and Metro bus services withdrawn for one week from April 25. See PA story ULSTER Bus. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The unions are calling for a 6% pay rise for drivers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Translink workers are fed up with being taken for granted.

“This company needs to get real on the pay offer to our members.

“Our members working on the buses at Translink will have the union’s total support until the company makes a fair offer and this dispute is resolved.”

A typical bus in NI

Unite deputy regional secretary Davy Thompson said: “Any action taken will inevitably cause severe disruption to bus services across Northern Ireland but my members cannot accept seeing their standards of living collapse.

“Translink needs to realise the error of its ways, table an improved offer and return to the negotiating table.”

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”.