Northern Ireland news

Strike action by Translink bus drivers suspended after last ditch talks

Strike action by bus drivers was suspended after last ditch talks. Picture by Mal McCann

STRIKE action by bus drivers across Northern Ireland has been suspended following last ditch talks.

The GMB Union said the action had been halted to allow workers to vote on a new pay offer made by Translink.

All bus services, including Translink, Ulsterbus, Metro, Goldline and Glider services, had been due to be cancelled from tomorrow with predictions of a "complete shutdown" of the north's bus network.

Bus drivers, cleaners and shunters had been expected to walk out for seven days in a dispute over pay.

But in a statement, the GMB Union said Translink had put forward a revised pay deal and "as a result industrial action has been suspended while GMB and Unite members vote on the offer".

A ballot of trade union members will now be prepared.

Peter Macklin, GMB regional organiser, said: "After last ditch talks, Translink workers now have a revised pay offer.

"As a gesture of goodwill, industrial action has been suspended until workers have voted on the new offer.

"If they accept it, the strikes would be cancelled completely. But if they turn it down, GMB will meet with members immediately to discuss new strike dates."

Around 1.3 million journeys, including 55,000 school pupils, were expected to have been impacted by the strike action.

Massive disruption was expected across the north with major concerns about the impact on school transport, in particular for those sitting GCSE, AS and A-level exams this week

The unions say their workers need help to tackle the cost of living crisis and asked for a six per cent pay rise to help workers cope with inflation of nine per cent in the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Translink said it was "pleased to have reached an agreement" with union officials to avert this week’s industrial action.

A Translink spokesperson said following discussions with unions today, "we have structured a revised offer that acknowledges their concerns over increasing inflation and the cost of living while also supporting wider business needs".

"We welcome this constructive engagement with our unions," she said.

"Preventing this industrial action has been of the utmost priority for the company.

"We are pleased to have found a way forward that will enable us to build back public transport for a more sustainable and better future for all."

The company said all Translink bus services including school buses will operate as normal.

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