Translink Workers have a strategy to win which unites their three unions behind a single unified fight which looks ready to kick off industrial action on 1 December with Bus and Rail workers in response to Translink’s 0% pay ‘non-offer’.
Unite Rep Damien Doherty said ‘The unions representing Translink workers are heading towards another stalemate with our pay masters. We as reps from Unite, GMB and SIPTU are totally united and ready to fight this insulting 0% offer. Our members remember our recent pay disputes with the company and how our unions working in solidarity won big on two pay disputes recently.
‘Our ability to work closely together in solidarity as a united front in the negotiations means we are going to win for our members in Translink bus and rail.’
‘For too many years the unions representing Translink workers across all departments submitted pay claims followed by pay negotiations as individual unions. This allowed the company the upper hand in pay negotiations. It even got to the point where unions taking part in these negotiations didn’t engage in inter-union talks. This grew managment’s advantage. Unions tabled different pay claims leading to disastrous pay talks with simple mistakes that in hindsight could have been easily avoided from the reps’ and members’ perspective.’
In recent years the elected branch officers from the different unions recognised the huge benefit of unions working together going into pay negotiations he said.
‘It also helps us lead from where the talks will have most effect. That’s in the workplace. Some of us are leaving the garage and going over to the negotiating table. Then we have to come back and face our co-workers. Members know elected reps are leading. The same reps will be in the depots and stations and offices tomorrow- affected by the same deal. We’re going to enter negotiations unified in our approach and with our members’ needs first.’
Despite the different unions, the solidarity in strategy, negotiation, and action have seen negotiations which have achieved significant pay gains: 6.5% in 2021, and 10.1% in 2022. This solidarity will be vital as unions take action against a 0% pay offer for 2023 from Translink. As a result reps are preparing to lead what seems to be ‘inevitable industrial action’ from 1 December 2023 in Bus and Rail.
The power of joint union strategy in the workplace and across all departments within workplaces is an underused strength in many union disputes and negotiations, but not here. These reps are showing how to unite and fight to win.