Post-Easter disruption expected for schools and public services as union plans strike action

Unite members were on strike earlier in March in Northern Ireland Credit: Presseye

Schools, bin collections and other public services could be disrupted after Easter with further strike action now expected to take place.

Workers affiliated with Unite the Union are planning to strike over pay negotiations with various public bodies.

UTV understands that councils, local authorities and the Education Authority will be impacted by the strikes which are expected to start towards the end of April.

In a statement to UTV, the Education Authority said that it does not have "the power or the authority" to resolve what it describes as a national-level pay dispute.

The EA said they were "very concerned about the disproportionate impact" the strike "will have on pupils, schools and families".

In a statement to UTV, Unite said that "The strike follows the failure of employers to provide an improved pay offer to workers."

The union said that the current pay offer is a 1.75% increase, whereas the "current rate of inflation impacting workers' living standard is nine percent."

General Secretary of the Union Sharon Graham said that "public sector workers face a choice of heating or eating" under current pay levels.The Education Authority say that they are preparing "contingency measures" to "minimise disruption for children and young people".

Bus drivers affiliated with GMB and Unite are due to strike at the end of April and start of May because of their own pay dispute with Translink.

The action could see all Metro and Ulsterbus services across Northern Ireland suspended.

The Education Authority noted that the planned bus strikes would see all school bus services stopped for the duration of the industrial action.

Strike action across the public sector has increased notably in recent months due to the rising cost of living.

Workers and their representatives have asked for pay rises in line with inflation, whereas employers and the government have sought to prevent pay increases worsening the rate of inflation.