Impact of strikes will be far reaching - Stewart

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Impact of strikes will be far reaching - Stewart

UUP Infrastructure spokesperson, John Stewart MLA shares his thoughts on the impact of the Translink strikes as Northern Ireland Prepares for this Thursdays’ Day of Action.

"As the spectre of strikes looms large across Northern Ireland this Thursday, the focus turns to the challenges faced not only by Translink employees who feel compelled to strike but also the collateral impact on families and small businesses caught in the crossfire. The current impasse, characterised by the lack of a Stormont Executive and the ensuing funding deadlock, is an issue that demands attention from both the DUP and the Westminster Government.

"First and foremost, the plight of Translink employees cannot be ignored. These hardworking individuals are at the frontline of public transportation, ensuring the smooth functioning of a critical service that binds communities together. The decision to strike is not taken lightly, and the grievances that lead to such actions often stem from an accumulation of unaddressed concerns. Whether it be issues related to pay, working conditions, or broader concerns about job security, Translink employees find themselves facing challenges that they believe warrant a strong response.

"However, the impact of a strike extends far beyond the immediate concerns of the workforce. Families relying on public transportation to commute for work, education, or essential services will inevitably face disruptions. The elderly, the disabled, and those without access to alternative transportation options may find themselves disproportionately affected.

"Additionally, small businesses, who are already suffering from the normal drop in sales during January, depend on the regular flow of customers facilitated by public transport will see a decline in footfall, potentially jeopardising their livelihoods.

"In the midst of this turmoil, it is imperative to address the root cause of the funding deadlock. The failure to form a Stormont Executive is a serious concern, and the DUP must recognize the gravity of the situation. It is a dereliction of duty to withhold approval for the formation of an Executive that can address the pressing issues facing Northern Ireland, including the allocation of necessary funds for public services.

"Equally troubling, however, is the inaction of the Westminster Government. While the power to release agreed funding directly to departments lies within their grasp, their passive approach to the Northern Ireland situation is unacceptable. The people of Northern Ireland deserve decisive action from those in power, and the Westminster Government cannot afford to sit idly by, watching Northern Ireland descend into chaos.

"The need for a collaborative and responsible approach cannot be overstated. Both the DUP and the Westminster Government must prioritize the well-being of the people of Northern Ireland over political posturing. A failure to address the issues at hand not only perpetuates the suffering of Translink employees but also places an undue burden on innocent families and small businesses."