Northern Ireland

Translink strike to go ahead next week after unions reject offer

GMB, UNITE and SIPTU have rejected the offer from the government

Public transport workers have staged a number of strikes in the region in recent months
A Translink Metro bus Translink are set to go on strike again after three unions reject pay offer from the government (Liam McBurney/PA)

TRANSLINK workers will still walk out for three days at the end of the month after their unions rejected a payment offer from the government.

The strike will start on Tuesday February 27 and go on for 72 hours, meaning all buses, trains and gliders will not run until Friday March 1.

The three frontline passenger transport unions GMB, Unite and SIPTU rejected the pay offer as inadequate following a meeting.

Alan Perry, senior organiser at GMB said that the offer “falls short regarding what is a reasonable cost of living increase”.

He continued: “We remained committed to finding a resolution and to agree on an offer that we can take back to members to vote on.”

A spokesperson for GMB said that the unions stand ready to enter further dialogue with the company if they wish to avoid the action by improving on the current offer.

Translink workers in GMB, SIPTU and the Unite unions had been due to walk out on February 15, but had agreed to push this back until Tuesday to Thursday next week - to allow time for pay negotiations.

This was because of the Stormont Executive announcement that £688m was being released to secure pay awards for public sector workers.

Earlier this week Colin Neill from Hospitality Ulster said while he supported calls for pay increases, further transport strikes at such an early stage in the current process would be “another body blow” after several difficult years for his sector.

“I would appeal to the unions…please sit down and exhaust all channels of negotiation before any strikes happen, it is a really challenging time for our industry and there are other sectors and people who will be impacted,” he said.

He added that hospitality businesses struggling to turn a profit after the traditionally quiet January trading period could not afford any more disruption to their cash flow.