Bus Driver unions accept revised Translink pay offer, ending threat of strike action

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 threat of strike action has loomed over Northern Ireland's bus network for the past two months. Credit: PA Images

Translink have announced that the two trade unions representing bus drivers have accepted a revised pay offer, ending the threat of strike action.

The Unite the Union and GMB Bus Driver unions have voted to accept the new offer tabled by Translink.

A spokesperson for Translink said they believed the pay offer "acknowledged our drivers' concerns" with "the cost of living, while also supporting wider Business needs".

“Maintaining services for our customers has been of the utmost priority for the company and we are pleased to have found a way forward that will enable us to build back public transport for a more sustainable and better future for all."

The GMB Union says its members fought hard for what it's described as a well deserved pay increase and package.

The result comes after weeks of negotiations between unions and management as Bus Drivers sought pay increases to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

The unions had alleged that Translink's previous pay offers were inadequate in the face of spiraling costs.

Talks broke down in April, and in early May the unions voted to take part in mass strike action. This industrial action would have effectively shut down Northern Ireland's bus network for a week, with both Ulsterbus and Metro services set to stop running.

There were concerns that the strike would have a disruptive impact on GCSE and A-Level students, with it being due to start the same week as exams.

This scenario, however, was averted close to the strike date, with Translink management and the unions agreeing to return to the negotiating table.

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