72-hour transport strike called off after improved pay offer

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Staff will be balloted on the new pay deal

By Cillian Sherlock (PA)

Three days of public transport strikes have been called off after workers were given an improved pay offer.

Thousands of Translink workers on bus and rail services were due to walk out from midnight on Tuesday following the rejection of an “inadequate pay offer”.

However, the public transport trade unions have suspended the strike action following an improved pay offer from the company.

It comes after Unite, GMB and Siptu reconvened talks with Translink on Sunday.

The three unions are to ballot their members on the new offer.

Train and bus drivers participated in a number of days of strike action before Christmas, bringing public transport services to a halt across Northern Ireland.

Translink workers also took part in one of the largest strikes in Northern Ireland’s history last month, involving workers from multiple public sectors.

Last week, Stormont ministers agreed to release £688 million to make outstanding pay awards for public sector workers in Northern Ireland.

Individual departments have each been given an allocation to negotiate with relevant trade unions on the pay rises that will be introduced.

However, unrest among unions seeking pay parity with the rest of the UK has continued.

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd welcomed the suspension of the transport strike.

Mr O’Dowd said: “Resolving public sector pay quickly has been a key priority for the Executive. This is a positive development which I very much welcome.

“I want to thank the unions and Translink management for their determination to find a resolution to this dispute.”

Translink also welcomed the ballots.

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