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Investigation after bus strike

By Gráinne Brinkley

THE Unite union said they are helping Translink authorities with an internal investigation into why a bus driver was suspended after carrying out routine work on a Metro bus. The suspension of the driver, who works in Translink’s Short Strand depot, led to a mass walk-out by over 100 drivers on Friday morning in solidarity with their colleague. The strike was called off two hours later after the employee was reinstated pending a full investigation. The action brought Belfast city centre to a standstill and affected West Belfast bus timetables well into the afternoon.

Unite representative Michael Dornan said the driver was “needlessly suspended for carrying out routine work that he was asked to do”.

“The work was carried out on a manual disabled ramp that is attached to some Metro buses,” he explained.

“It has a sensor which is overly sensitive and which can activate the ramp when it’s not needed, so drivers are always having to jump out and fix it.  It’s a very week sensor that can break off. The driver was doing work on this, as instructed, and was suspended.”

Mr Dornan added that Translink Metro drivers felt they had to take the action on the suspension as they felt “it could have easily happened to them”.

“There were already complaints about the faulty bus by another driver who drove it earlier that day,” he said.


“This is a problem that comes up regularly in these types of buses.  It was a rash action to suspend this worker who was just carrying out his job, but he has been reinstated now pending a full investigation into the incident that Unite will be facilitating with Translink.”

A Translink spokesperson said Friday’s wildcat strike action came about “following an internal investigation into an incident of potential employee misconduct”.

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