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Eve-of-poll transport strike is cancelled

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 02/05/2015

Members of Unite were due to stage a 24-hour walkout next Wednesday, but the union deferred the action after Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy suspended proposed cuts to bus and rail services
Members of Unite were due to stage a 24-hour walkout next Wednesday, but the union deferred the action after Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy suspended proposed cuts to bus and rail services

A decision to call off an eve-of-poll strike over planned transport cuts has been welcomed.

Members of Unite were due to stage a 24-hour walkout next Wednesday, but the union deferred the action after Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy suspended proposed cuts to bus and rail services.

Unite official Davy McMurray said: "Through the threat of strikes, Unite has led resistance to proposals that would threaten cuts to more than 50 bus services and the Larne-Belfast and Bangor-Newry rail lines."

Mr Kennedy confirmed the cuts had been put on hold and said the move would allow Unite time to produce a set of alternative proposals.

"I know this will be a relief to the public who rely on public transport and for those schoolchildren who are sitting exams on this day," he added.

But he also stressed that £6m to £7m in savings would still have to be found this year.

Gordon Milligan, human resources director at Translink, welcomed the decision and said he wrote to Unite last week to highlight the impact the strike would have on passengers.

"This is good news," he added. "It is clear that Unite have acknowledged the need to find efficiency savings. We look forward to discussions with officials to ensure Translink can be put on a sustainable financial footing.

"That is why management has been driving forward a change programme in Translink, and we welcome the support of Unite in finding further cost reductions."

In March, public transport workers took part in a one-day strike that involved education, administration and health service staff.

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