May 1st: Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for public transport, Davy McMurray, has confirmed that the Translink senior representatives have voted to defer strike action scheduled to commence on May 6th after a commitment by Department of Regional Development (DRD) Minister Danny Kennedy to place a hold on planned cuts to frontline bus and rail services.
“The twenty-four hour strike action planned for May 6th was a follow up to the hugely successful public service strike against austerity on March 13th. Unite is opposed to the Assembly’s austerity cuts which will undermine public services and adversely impact the most vulnerable in our society.
“Through the threat of strike action, Unite has led resistance to proposals that would threaten cuts to more than 50 bus services and the Larne-Belfast and Bangor-Newry rail lines.
“Today, Minister Kennedy has agreed to place a hold on proposals for bus and rail cuts and associated job losses. He also committed his willingness to open the books of Translink, NITHCo and DRD to enable the identification of off-setting efficiencies at management and corporate level.
“Our union representatives raised a range of additional concerns including the absence of a long-term operating license for public transport, opportunities for economies of scale from integrating education transport within the service, and the need for a long-term public transportation strategy underpinned by significant investment to extend bus and rail coverage and services.
“As a result of today’s commitments, we are deferring the planned action”, Mr McMurray concluded.