Workers' unions warn of strike escalation after biggest walk out in Northern Ireland history

Many of the 170,000 workers who engaged in Thursday's unprecedented day of strike action returned to work on Friday but the disruption is not yet over.

Strike action continues for some sectors and union bosses have warned that escalation could be imminent if workers demands are not met.

Industrial action by education authority staff remains ongoing.

Road workers, including gritter operators will be out of action until next Wednesday, 24 January.

The three public transport unions engaging in strike action - Unite, GMB and SIPTU - met on Friday to agree next steps in their industrial campaign.

Susan Fitzgerald, Regional Secretary of Unite told UTV more days of action are in the pipeline.

Reflecting on Thursday's mass walkout, she said it was a "powerful day of action, a powerful message to politicians everywhere that working people's tolerance is at an all-time low".

"If we don't see results in terms of defending pay and public services they can expect to see more days like that.

"Yesterday marked a point of escalation and if we don't see movement and change, the movement and change that we need for workers and public services more days will be announced.

"Our Translink members, along with GMB and SIPTU met on Friday and they are planning further days of strike action, at least four more days in the weeks ahead. Other groups of workers are discussing similar."

Elsewhere, union bosses have warned that the next step could be a general strike if pay demands are not met.

Patrick Mulholland from NIPSA said Thursday's action was "just the beginning".

He stressed: "If we do not get social and economic justice, the struggle will continue. Today public sector general strike, tomorrow everybody general strike."

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