Fears that bus strike could have impact on exam students

LAST STOP?...A school bus pulls in to Enniskillen Ulsterbus Station.

LAST STOP?…A school bus pulls in to Enniskillen Ulsterbus Station.

Belcoo rep says industrial action is last resort to save services.

By Ryan Smith
CONCERNS have been raised at a day of disruption due to a public transport strike which could affect students in the midst of exams.


But, a local figure who is playing a key role in the strike action, has a clear message: It’s one day of strike action, or services here could be lost forever.

The action, due to take place on May 6, would mean that no Ulsterbus services would run in the county for a 24-hour period.

Previously, in March, services shutdown as part of wider strike action across education, health and other public services.

DUP Councillor Keith Elliott has questioned what impact the latest strike would have.

“I can’t see how striking is going to benefit the retention of a local service – they’re harming the people that use the service,” he said.

Referring to students, he added: “Obviously at such a crucial time in their education I would hate to think that a strike of that description would hamper that. Students are under enough pressure without having to worry about getting to school.”

But, Donal O’Cofaigh, from Belcoo is campaigns and communications officer at Unite and is playing a key role in the strike.


And he said that while the union will do everything to avoid having to take strike action, they feel that it is a last resort in attempts to retain services.

Services at risk here include the Enniskillen town services, the Roslea to Enniskillen service and the Altnagelvin to Enniskillen.

“It will produce disruption but what Unite and the other unions will be trying to do is make sure the strike doesn’t happen,” Mr O’Cofaigh said.

The union has said that it needs an additional £6m to prevent the cuts.

“Hopefully we’ll see action from the executive. It’s a relatively small amount and it is realistic that that among would be found.

“This strike will affect users for one day but if we lose these services then we’ll never get them back into Fermanagh and it’s important that we stand firm on this because we can expect deeper cuts next year,” Mr O’Cofaigh said.

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