FERMANAGH’S bus drivers are getting prepared for strike action later this month, which is expected to impact every bus service in the county.
Drivers for both Ulster Bus and town Metro services, who are members of the union Unite, are planning to take to the picket lines for a week-long strike across the North from April 25th until May 1st.
The strike comes after the Unite workers overwhelmingly voted for industrial action after rejecting the latest Translink management pay offer.
Cllr Donal O’Cofaigh, who works for Unite, said with management not responding to calls for increased wages in light of increasing costs, “it looks at the stage the strike is now inevitable.”
“Working class people are really struggling with the surge in prices and the cost of living crisis, the complete inaction from government, and the best way to defend themselves is to organise and negotiate for wage improvements collectively,” he said, adding inflation was currently at 8.2 percent and set to rise even further.
“Unfortunately in the case of Translink, management have made a meager offer which fails to meet the needs of drivers and overwhelmingly, in more than 80 percent of the vote, we’ve seen drivers vote for strike action.”
Cllr O’Cofaigh said the bus strike was likely to coincide with another round of industrial action by local authority workers, including Education Authority bus drivers, council workers, education workers and Housing Executive workers.
“It’s very likely in the near future we will see more strike dates announced for them,” he said, adding he understood another union representing council workers were also preparing to ballot for industrial action.
“If working class people are going to defend themselves the only way is to try to get pay to increase,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of employers who are making unbelievable amounts of profit at the moment but not sharing it with their workers.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition