Bus and rail workers set to strike next Thursday and call on Chris Heaton-Harris to release funds for pay increase

The three public transport trade unions - Unite, GMB and SIPTU - are to notify Translink of further planned strike action next Thursday (February 1). This is the first of a likely four further days of strike action to be taken in February.
Staff from Translink taking part in industrial action last Thursday in Newry. Pic: Liz Boyle/Staff from Translink taking part in industrial action last Thursday in Newry. Pic: Liz Boyle/
Staff from Translink taking part in industrial action last Thursday in Newry. Pic: Liz Boyle/

It will be the first of a likely four further days of strike action to be taken in February. It is believed that further action could take place on February 15, 27 and 28.

A statement on behalf of the three unions said the notification marks a further escalation in the industrial action of bus and rail workers demanding Secretary of State, Chris Heaton-Harris, release funding for public transport services and allow a cost of living pay increase.

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Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Last week’s strike action in Northern Ireland represented an historic mobilisation of workers demanding Chris Heaton-Harris release funds to provide a pay increase for public service workers.

“In the absence of any movement on pay, public transport workers have been left with no alternative but to escalate their strike action with further strikes. They can be assured of the continued support of Unite in that fight.”

GMB, regional organiser Peter Macklin said: “Chris Heaton-Harris’ behaviour to date to workers, our public services and indeed the public has been nothing short of disgraceful. His attempts to weaponise the funding of public services and pay have backfired leaving him increasingly isolated.

“He is solely responsible for the current wave of strike action – he must release the funds which he is withholding from workers and public services.”

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SIPTU regional organiser Niall McNally said, “Public transport workers demand the release of the funds needed for a cost of living pay increase.

“Workplace reps have unanimously agreed an escalated schedule of industrial action including four further days of strikes in February. The three unions are also seeking to coordinate our action with that of the wider trade union movement to keep the maximum pressure on Chris Heaton-Harris so that we can win for workers and our public services.”

It follows four days of action taken by bus and rail workers in the build-up to Christmas, while they also joined thousands of other workers in taking part in industrial action last Thursday.