Union commits to work with local communities and voluntary groups
Following a meeting with senior shop stewards across both bus and rail services, Unite’s lead Regional Officer for public transport, Davy McMurray expressed his union’s total opposition to proposals which would see a range of town bus services discontinued, along with threats to rail services and a hike in fares.
“DRD proposals to slash local bus services in fourteen major regional towns and reduce local pick up points and the frequency of services will have a hugely adverse impact on the most vulnerable sections of our society. It is an attack on older people, the disabled, families with children and those who just cannot afford to run a car – all of whom are dependent on public transport to go to the shop, library or other many other essential services.
“The proposals seek to deliver £15 million in savings at the expense of bus services for rural communities. DRD’s proposals start by focussing on cutting front-line services as opposed to focussing on the tier-after-tier of unproductive and bloated management existing above our membership in both Translink and the Northern Ireland Holding Company.
“By comparison, proposals such as fare hikes and a threat to cut back rail services will only further undermine the economic sustainability of public transport services by forcing increased reliance on cars. These cuts are a false economy as they push commuters away from public transport to cars which will result in a huge increase to roads maintenance budgets and wider environmental impacts.
“Unite is completely opposed to these proposals. We are committed to building an alliance with local communities and voluntary groups for a ‘Hands Off Public Transport’ People Power campaign to reverse these proposals. If the Minister insists of proceeding with them, we will proceed for a ballot on protracted industrial action to defend our bus and rail services.”