Northern Ireland public transport workers strike for three days in Christmas run up

Dates for further public transport strikes in Northern Ireland in the run up to Christmas have been confirmed.

Members of unions representing public transport workers are to walk out for three 24-hour strikes on December 15, 16 and 22.

It comes after workers took part in the first public transport strike in eight years on December 1.

There was widespread disruption with businesses reporting a downturn in trade.

Unions Unite, GMB and Siptu aid the workers rejected a pay freeze which they said was equivalent to a 11% real-terms pay cut once RPI inflation is taken into account. They emphasised that strike action is “always a last resort”, but said their members have been offered no alternative.

The Northern Ireland Office has said the government has "no authority" to negotiate pay in Northern Ireland saying it is for the devolved executive to resolve.

Power sharing collapsed in Northern Ireland over the government's trading arrangements with the EU.

In a statement, a Translink spokesperson said: “We have been formally advised that Unite, GMB and Siptu unions intend to take further industrial action on Friday 15 December, Saturday 16 December and Friday 22 December. “We are disappointed with this decision by our union colleagues which will disrupt bus and rail services that so many of our passengers rely on particularly at this busy time of the year. “We are fully committed to enter into pay negotiations once the budget issue has been resolved. The budget issue, which impacts on many public sector workers, needs to be resolved at the NI Executive level.

“We would urge our colleagues not to take this further action which will only exacerbate the financial pressures on Translink as well as impact local school children and damage the livelihoods of many businesses and their staff in the retail and hospitality sectors who depend on the busy Christmas period.

“We will communicate relevant passenger information through the media, on our website, through social media, in stations, and on buses and trains. Our contact centre will also remain open 028 90 666 630.

“Translink apologises for any inconvenience this may cause”.

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