Northern Ireland

Second transport strike called off says union Unite

Translink bus Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Unite said it welcomed Mr Kennedy's decision to give the union time to consider alternative budget proposals

Planned strike action over proposed cuts to bus and rail services in Northern Ireland has been called off, the union Unite has said.

Unite had said public transport workers would strike for 24 hours on Wednesday 6 May.

On Friday, Unite said its members had voted to defer strike action.

It said it followed a decision by the Transport Minister Danny Kennedy to place a hold on proposed transport budget cuts.

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

It caused disruption across many areas of Northern Ireland.

Unite's regional officer Davy McMurray said workers had welcomed Mr Kennedy's "commitment" to place proposals for rail and bus services cuts on hold.

"He also committed his willingness to open the books of Translink and DRD (Department for Regional Development) to enable the identification of off-setting efficiencies at management and corporate level," he said.

'No alternative'

"Our union representatives raised a range of additional concerns including the absence of a long-term operating licence for public transport, opportunities for economies of scale from integrating education transport within the service, and the need for a long-term public transportation strategy underpinned by significant investment to extend bus and rail coverage and services."

Mr Kennedy said he had made the decision in order to "allow Unite time to produce an alternative set of efficiency proposals for consideration".

He added: "In addition, I am requiring regular progress reports on the development of alternative proposals. During the meeting I made it clear that £6m to £7m savings must be found this year. There is no alternative to this.

"I have given my commitment that I will fully consider all proposals that are produced."

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