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Transport workers begin 48-hour strike with roads set to swell one of busiest weekends of year

Peter Beagan and Eugene Hughes on the picket line in Keady

A discernible lack of buses on our roads will be evident over the next 48 hours as transport workers across Northern Ireland take part in a 48-hour strike.

Trade unions Unite, GMB and Siptu are involved in the action which will see Translink services removed from our roads and railway lines until Sunday.

Armagh I spoke to Eugene Hughes (Shop Steward) and Peter Beagan in Keady this morning who said it shouldn’t have to be this way but they had “no other choice”. The pair were later joined by Cormac Powell who, despite being off on holiday, stood with his colleagues.

The pair are among hundreds taking to the picket lines across Co Armagh in an effort for better pay and conditions.

Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The failure of the secretary of state Chris Heaton-Harris to intervene and provide any pay increase has left Translink workers no alternative but to escalate industrial action.

“All too often Translink workers are on the frontline of social disorder or unrest now in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, they are being told to accept an 11 per cent real-terms pay cut. That is completely unacceptable. They continue to have the full support of Unite in their fight.”

Translink said it was “fully committed to entering constructive pay negotiations”.

A spokesperson added: “This can only be done once the budget issue has been resolved.”

“This situation impacts all public sector workers and needs to be resolved at the NI Executive level.

“We have urged our colleagues to reconsider and pause this action in light of the social and economic impact it will have at this time and to await the outcome of political talks.”

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