Belfast Telegraph

Translink rail strike travel misery: Commuters facing disruption as train staff stop work

BY KATE McCURRY

Thousands of commuters are facing disruption today as more than 150 railway staff go on strike.

An ongoing dispute between Translink and GMB union is the reason behind the day-long strike, which started at midnight.

It is expected that NI Railway workers — including conductors, station and platform staff — will join other members in the strike.

In a bid to reduce disruption to passengers, Translink said it plans to include some peak services in the morning and evening.

Travellers have been directed towards Translink’s website for updates and copies of timetables which can also be obtained from stations.

The industrial action centres on what the union described as “an ongoing dispute with the employer over pay and terms and conditions as well as a history of poor industrial relations”.

It surfaced in 2011 after the public transport service said they were “looking to make efficiencies”.

Michael Mulholland of the union said: “The efficiencies that our staff have seen over the years have been a reduction in headcount with an increase in workload.

“They have concerns that some of the proposals that have been tabled at the moment have implications for safety.”

A spokesman for the GMB union added: “All other groups have accepted a three-year deal which has been achieved through the agreement of efficiencies such as changes to company sick pay and increased flexibility.

“Our members, who are mainly from the conductor and station staff grades, believe that they are being asked to give away too much to fund increases for other groups who have not.”

Translink said that bus and metro services would not be affected by the strike.

They added they attempted to meet with the union although it would not be able to happen until later this week.

“A small number of NI Railways staff have indicated they will take strike action on Monday, June 24,” the spokesman said.

“Rail services will be adversely affected by this strike action and we plan to operate a special timetable to include some peak services in the morning and evening and a Sunday service during off peak times.

“Enterprise services will operate a normal Monday timetable. We have asked the GMB union to engage with us to resolve the situation, including inviting GMB to discuss the issue at the Labour Relations Agency. However they have indicated they cannot meet us until next week.”

Instant updates can be found from Twitter @Translink_NI.

Factfile

Translink said compensation arrangements will be put in place for passengers who have pre-purchased tickets valid for travel today. This includes weekly and monthly tickets, annual tickets, iLink weekly and monthly tickets, and Translink pupil passes. Ulsterbus, Metro and Goldline bus and coach services will not be affected.

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