Unofficial action forces Translink to retreat

“Anger is at boiling point”. This comment made by one of the workers at the Falls Road bus depot over the 70 job cuts proposed by Translink clearly sums up the feelings of many bus workers across Belfast.Workers at the depot have been told there will be 28 job cuts from the engineering section by the 1st October. This is a cut of over 10% in one of the biggest employers in West Belfast. Open letter to Conor Murphy, Minister for Regional Development  

Workers at the depot have expressed concern that these job losses will likely lead to the closure of the depot, as the engineering section is essential for keeping buses on the road. Translink management have given “reassurances” this is will not happen, but workers are rightly unconvinced, leading to tensions rising between the workforce and management.
These tensions spilled over in September when engineering staff mounted an unofficial stoppage for several hours in response to management reneging on agreements that buses would not leave the site without a full PSV check. The fact that Translink management were prepared to bypass engineer workers and send buses on the road without full health & safety checks is a scandal.

The strike was only called off when a UNITE union official intervened and convinced the workers to return to work, with agreement from management that it would not happen again. UNITE officials have been in negotiations with Translink over the threatened job losses but many workers are frustrated with the union officials approach as it appears that UNITE are willing to accept redundancies and redeployment rather than fight for the jobs and service.

The unofficial action clearly shows that bus workers are willing to fight for their jobs and that management can be forced to retreat. The spontaneous unofficial action by the engineers shows that workers instinctively understand the correct method to fight job cuts. Bus workers should build on this approach and rejecting any deals which involve cuts to jobs and services.


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