Translink’s consultation on train service cuts another insult to travelling public

trains2Travelling public offered a twelve-day consultation to approve unspecified cuts to train routes

Unite bus and rail workforce reps gathering to agree campaign of industrial action to defend public transport

Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for Translink workers, Davy McMurray, was highly critical of the proposed new consultation on train service cuts:

“Translink will follow-up their four-week ‘sham’ consultation on bus service cuts which ends tomorrow (April 10th) with a similar exercise for proposed rail cuts kicking off with a public information meeting in Portadown. While the so-called consultation on bus cuts didn’t afford the public anywhere near the usual twelve-week period for a consultation, the proposed consultation on train cuts will close only twelve days after the first ‘public information’ meeting.

“Yet again, rather than coming out with clear proposals and seeking an engagement with the travelling public on that basis, Translink’s questionnaire asks respondents a series of ‘leading’ questions which are clearly designed to justify their unspecified plans for rail service cuts. This is another consultation focussed on public information meetings which are not publicly-advertised, which are timed to exclude the public, for example that at Portadown runs from 7.30am-10am. What’s worse is that many towns which will be affected by cuts such as Lisburn, Newry and Whitehead have no planned information events at all.

“This is not a serious consultation but a rubber-stamping exercise designed to provide political cover for damaging austerity cuts to our public transport schedules. This will fool no-one and provides no justification for management cuts.

“Workers in Translink have been deeply angered by management manoeuvring throughout this process. First they made a big show of a tinkering exercise which failed to address waste on bloated management structures, then they implemented an above-inflation hike to fares without any formal consultation, and now they are conducting bogus consultation exercises geared to providing some cover for their pre-ordained but undisclosed cuts to bus and rail services.

“In the background, the DRD is quietly going through the formalities of a consultation exercise on legislation specifically designed to facilitate the contracting-out and privatisation of bus and rail services in Northern Ireland.

“In response, Unite is calling together our representatives from across all sections of Translink early next week to agree an industrial action strategy with the aim of protecting our members’ jobs and defending the integrity of Northern Ireland’s public transport system”, Mr McMurray concluded.

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