Union warns strikes will 'grind Northern Ireland bus network to halt' as pay offer rejected

Translink Metro buses in parked in Belfast City centre. A number of bus services in the Belfast area are to be suspended or diverted following recent attacks on vehicles, Translink has announced. 
Picture date: Monday November 8, 2021.
Picture by: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images
The strike will impact people across Northern Ireland

Thousands of people across Northern Ireland face the cancellation of bus services due to Bus strikes after the GMB Union rejected Translink's latest pay offer.

The industrial action was first announced last month but was called off after new rounds of negotiations began between the GMB and Unite unions and Translink.

However, the GMB union announced on Monday that their members had rejected Translink's revised pay offer, saying that workers have "shown their anger and frustration with the company".

According to GMB, the strike action will close the entire bus network down as "drivers, cleaners and shunters" walk out for for seven days. The strike is due to take place across Northern Ireland from Tuesday 17 May to Monday 23 May.

Translink said it would make contingency arrangements but would still engage with unions to avert the action.

GMB say that Translink rejected its proposal for a pay raise of 6% to help with rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

Unite the Union have not yet confirmed whether they will participate in this strike. It has been approached for comment.

It is anticipated that the industrial action will effect Metro, Glider and Ulsterbus services.

A Translink spokesperson said the company was disappointed with the move and offered apologies for any inconvenience caused.

“We are disappointed to learn that Unite and GMB Bus Driver Trade Unions, by a relatively slim margin, have voted to take unprecedented industrial action.

“Following extensive negotiations, we made a further substantial offer for 2021, including an enhanced package of conditions, that we believe is fair and reasonable.

“At this stage, having exhausted all options, we will start to take the difficult decisions in preparing for the impact of the strike action. However, we remain committed to working with the unions to avert this action.

“We would welcome the opportunity to engage with unions to cover school duties, so that the wellbeing of schoolchildren can remain a priority, particularly as many enter the exam period.

“All train services will continue to operate as normal.

“We will communicate relevant passenger information through the media, on our website www.translink.co.uk, through social media, in stations, and on buses and trains.

“Translink apologises for any inconvenience this may cause”.