06/02/2008

Bus Drivers Threaten to Strike

Belfast’s congestion has sparked a row with Metro bus drives who now threaten strike action throughout the city.

Metro driver’s union, Unite, called on Northern Ireland Transport Minister Conor Murphy last week to meet promises he made to introduce dedicated bus lanes into the city centre to tackle Belfast’s morning traffic jams.

The union said Metro drivers were now calling for a ballot for industrial action to highlight the difficulties of providing a "first class transport system with uninterrupted bus lanes".

Drivers said they were under constant stress to meet unrealistic running times during peak periods of congestion.

Union representatives are now expected to meet the minister next month to discuss how long the Rapid Transport System outlined by the Department for Regional Development would take to come into effect.

Unite's Sean Smyth said: "The drivers also ask, how can the minister plan a new Rapid Transport System without priority lanes - whether for buses or a light railway or a mixture of both?

"Without priority lanes being in operation neither system, as being experienced by the Metro bus service at the moment, will not work."

In October 2007, Translink drivers threatened strike action over the introduction of a ‘return to work’ policy where two periods of sickness within a month would lead to disciplinary action by the company.

See: Bus Drivers Shocked Over Light Rail Proposal

(DW)


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