Transport workers in Northern Ireland have suspended strike action.
Translink staff are keen to give political leaders at Stormont space to make an improved pay offer.
Despite the re-establishment of power-sharing institutions, as yet the public transport unions (GMB, Unite and SIPTU) have received no offer of negotiations from Translink or indeed any offer of a pay increase.
Given the potential for incoming Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd to move quickly and offer workers a pay increase, it was unanimously agreed by all three unions to reschedule the date of the next, planned strike action which was provisionally set for February 15 – until the end of the month.
In the absence of a realistic offer the next scheduled strike action by bus and rail workers will be for a 72-hour period commencing on a staggered basis after midnight on 27 February and ending after midnight 29 February. Strike action would result in all bus and rail services in Northern Ireland being brought to a standstill.
Peter Macklin, GMB Organiser, said:
“Today’s meeting unanimously agreed to postpone the action pencilled in for 15 February to the end of the month.
"The unions want to provide the politicians and Translink the space to provide a cost of living pay increase for public transport workers.
"However, they should be under no illusions, in the absence of any such offer, our members will be left with no alternative but to proceed with the planned three-day action at the end of the month.”
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:
“Stormont has a small window to come forward with a pay offer to avoid further industrial action by public transport sector workers.
"Promises of increased budgets must immediately translate into a fair pay increase for our members. The public transport workers have the full support of Unite in their campaign to secure improved pay.”
SIPTU regional organiser Niall McNally added:
“While we all welcome the restoration of the power-sharing institutions in Stormont, they need to deliver for workers and society.
"Infrastructure minister John O’Dowd must move quickly to address the underfunding of public transport in Northern Ireland and ensure adequate funding for this vital public service – and to allow public transport workers to receive a cost of living pay increase.
"Our members have taken six days strike action and they are determined that they will get what they deserve.”