Northern Ireland

Transport strikes set to continue across Northern Ireland on Thursday despite DUP deal

Translink has 34 Gliders in operation in Belfast
Bus, rail and Glider services are set to be disrupted this Thursday with further strike action over pay

Transport strikes planned for Thursday in Northern Ireland look set to go ahead despite the DUP’s deal to restore Stormont.

Around 25,000 Translink workers belonging to the GMB, Siptu and Unite unions had announced the latest round of industrial action for February 1, with three further dates mooted on February 15, 27 and 28.

Peter Macklin, GMB organiser, commented on Tuesday: “As it stands, there is no offer on the table.

“Thursday’s strike will go ahead.

“However, GMB will discuss developments with members and act according to their wishes.”

Despite Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s prediction that Stormont could now be restored within days, it appears likely that action by Unite and Siptu will also continue as planned.

Commenting on the latest development, Retail NI’s Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said Thursday’s strikes were no longer necessary.

“Given this progress, we would call upon the transport unions to call off Thursdays strike as a gesture of goodwill.,” he said.

“All the main political parties have now committed to getting the much needed pay to all public sector workers and therefore further strike is not necessary.  It will only cause further disruption to our economy”.

A joint statement from the unions previously stated that workers would “walk out in anger” to push for a cost of living pay increase.

The Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris has promised a £3.3bn financial package, which includes provision for public sector pay, but has maintained that releasing the money is a devolved matter.

Earlier this month, transport workers were also among tens of thousands of who took part in one of the largest strikes days Northern Ireland has seen for years.

Ahead of Thursday’s strike, Translink had also promised to enter “constructive pay negotiations” but only when a Stormont Executive had agreed a budget.

“We have urged our colleagues to reconsider this industrial action that will unfortunately further disrupt bus and rail services that so many of our passengers rely on and exacerbate the financial pressures on Translink.”