Friday 8 May 2015

Northern Ireland Transport Strikes

Following the planned strike action by Translink workers on the eve of the General Election which was deferred, a three-month process has been agreed with the Department for Regional Development to review the situation, a statement said.
Unite regional officer Davy McMurray said: “The 24-hour strike action planned for 6 May was a follow up to the hugely successful public service strike against austerity on 13 March.

"Unite is opposed to the Assembly’s austerity cuts which will undermine public services and adversely impact the most vulnerable in our society.
The threats of strikes by bus workers in Northern Ireland are bringing the threat of large fines being imposed on the two operators that run services in the province. Penalties of 150,000 per day could be imposed on Dublin Bus and €80,000 per day on Bus Eireann if the seven days of strikes take place. Workers are taking industrial action in response to proposed cuts to Translink's bus and rail services.
Northern Ireland's transport is regulated in a similar manner to London where buses and trains are run by the state. When funds are tight there is pressure to cut services and customers and transport workers are fighting the latest proposals.

Welcoming the decision to call off the strike action, the Transport Minister confirmed he has agreed to put on hold the outcome of Translink's recent consultation process.
“This is to allow Unite time to produce an alternative set of efficiency proposals for consideration and I have asked Translink and my officials to assist them, as required, in this process," he commented.
It is ironic that here we have an example of regulated transport not working due to lack of funding whilst at the same time Nexus and the Tyne & Wear ITA arguing for their's to come under control.

On 17th March we commented here about Nexus having to ask for more time to prepare a response to the operators’ challenges to the proposed quality contract scheme and pointed out that regulated bus services in Northern Ireland were under threat due to lack of funding. The call for strike action in Northern Ireland follows estimates of a loss of £14m in 2014-15 and proposals of a 10% rise during the year.
This could be the scenario in Tyne & Wear if the proposals to regulate services as in Northern Ireland where public funding cannot keep pace with costs of running the business in a realistic and efficient way.

Thanks to Stephen Maskell for providing two of the above images