Belfast Telegraph

Public sector strike: Fire and rescue, schools and public transport all affected in Northern Ireland

By Victoria O'Hara

Workers in transportation, education, road services, fire and rescue, and health services will join a 24-hour walkout today.

There is the potential for up to 60,000 workers involved in the industrial action which starts at midnight and will be one of the largest for years, organisers have said.

Health and social services, education boards, schools, bus and train services, and the civil service will all be affected. The strike has been organised by Unite the Union, Unison and the GMB to protest a pay freeze and government spending cuts over fears they will lead to up to 20,000 job losses over the next few years.

Bus and train drivers from the Unite and GMB unions are joining the strike action by public sector workers. As a result all bus and train services will be cancelled during the one-day strike action. Libraries will also be shut.

Police said they would not be enforcing bus lanes during the strike action.

The suspension of public transport will leave potentially 75,000 children unable to get to school.

There will be no guarantee of cross-border train services operating. Compensation arrangements will be in place for passengers who have pre-purchased tickets for the Enterprise train and Goldline buses to Dublin Airport. Customers who booked online will be emailed with options of a full refund or change of travel date.

The Department of Health said "critical services will be maintained".

Because of health workers striking, non-critical planned procedures and appointments will be cancelled across the trusts.

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service has admitted there will be delays in some 999 calls.

Union members will attend marches and rallies taking place in nine towns and cities throughout the region, including in Belfast, Derry and Omagh.

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