Unite has confirmed initial dates for strike action on Ulsterbus and Metro bus services. These will be taken in conjunction with GMB who also represents bus workers at Translink.
The strike action planned will be a week, starting April 25 and concluding on May 1, as well as a single day on Friday, May 6.
The strike comes after members of the union overwhelmingly voted for industrial action after rejecting the latest Translink management pay offer.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham expressed her support for the striking bus workers. She said, “These bus workers are frontline workers – they deserve respect and a pay increase. Translink needs to grasp that there’s a cost of living crisis destroying the value of wages and return with a more acceptable offer.
“Unite’s members have my full support and that of their union in taking this strike action for fairer pay.”
Unite deputy Regional Secretary Davy Thompson is lead officer for Translink, Northern Ireland’s bus and rail public transport provider. He added: “Unite represents the overwhelming majority of bus workers, and this strike action taken in conjunction with GMB which also represents bus workers will shut down all bus services.
“Bus workers deserve a pay increase. The ball is in the court of Translink management. They can to avoid this unnecessary and highly disruptive strike – they need to address our members’ legitimate pay expectations.”
Meanwhile, Peter Macklin, GMB Organiser, said: "Every worker deserves fair pay. With rampant inflation, this real terms cut is a slap in the face and will leave many struggling to cover their bills.
“Translink fails to recognise what workers went through during the pandemic.
“They kept transport running so other essential workers could get to and from workplaces to perform vital roles.
“Our members were proud to carry out their duty in delivering the service, potentially putting themselves and their families at risk.
"When we clapped every Thursday night, we said the essential workers would not be forgotten or left behind.
"But during this cost of living crisis, Translink is forgetting their own workers.
“The dispute, which affects bus drivers, cleaners and shunters will close the entire bus network within Northern Ireland. It will be a complete shutdown.”
A Translink spokesperson said they were "disappointed" that the unions had voted to take industrial action.
“Following extensive negotiations, including with the Labour Relations Agency, we made a pay offer of 3% plus an enhanced package of conditions that included a 7% increase in weekend and overtime rates along with 2 extra days holiday," they said.
“We believe this was a fair and reasonable offer and have at all times been open to discussions. We remain committed to working with the unions to avert this action.
“We would welcome the opportunity to engage with unions to cover school duties, so that the wellbeing of schoolchildren can remain a priority.
“All train services will continue to operate as normal.
“We will communicate relevant passenger information through the media, on our website www.translink.co.uk, through social media, in stations and on buses and trains.
“Translink apologises for any inconvenience this may cause”.