18/02/2020

Disruption As Gliders Attacked In West Belfast

A Glider service route in west Belfast is understood to have been withdrawn after two separate attacks on vehicles.

Youths are reported to have smashed bus windows in the Lagmore area on Monday 17 February.

Unite the Union said the Gliders will now turn at the Michael Ferguson roundabout and not travel to the Colin Connect terminus, where the attacks occurred.

The union represents both drivers and Custom Revenue Protection Officers (CRPOs) on Glider services and is seeking an urgent meeting with the PSNI today, Tuesday 18.

The first incident saw a young female passenger put at risk of serious injury when a window of the bus she was travelling on was broken. While the glass did not fully give way, the woman was left in a "state of shock".

Later, a group of around seventy youths- who had been put off the Glider for not paying a fare- viciously attacked the bus and broke a number of windows.
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Chair of the Metro and Gliders' drivers' Unite union branch, Michael Dornan said: "These are only the latest in a series of attacks on Glider services. The CRPOs, members of our union, who inspect tickets have been subjected to routine abuse for months now – many report being consistently spat at and attacked verbally by youths in anti-social behaviour incidents throughout the West Belfast route."

Unite Regional Coordinating Officer for workers in Translink Davy Thompson said the "reprehensible" attacks posed a threat to public health and safety.

"The drivers and CRPOs have been left with no choice but to end the Glider service at the Michael Ferguson roundabout – short of the terminus at Colin Connect – to guarantee the safety and welfare of all concerned.

"We recognise that, unfortunately, this decision will result in huge disruption and suffering for the local community who use the Glider service but these attacks threaten life and limb – the responsibility for this outcome lies entirely at the feet of those who attacked the vehicles.

"Unite will be seeking urgent meetings tomorrow with local community representatives, the PSNI and management to seek assurances that these attacks will stop. If they do not, the withdrawal is likely to become a suspension – with the same approach taken as with attacks on Metro services," Mr Thompson said.



(JG/CM)

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