20 Apr 2012

Belfast walkout wins victory - in an hour

Earlier today scores of bus drivers abandoned their vehicles outside Belfast City Hall for around an hour in a bid to get a suspended colleague reinstated. Union leaders hailed the action a success after receiving assurances that the driver had been allowed back to work. Bus operators Translink said the action was unofficial and unnecessary.

It is understood the driver was suspended over an incident involving the handle of the bus's manual ramp for disabled passengers. The driver's union said their member had been disciplined after allegedly breaking off the handle. Unite shop steward Michael Dornan addressed the protesting drivers outside City Hall. "We have stood together and got our colleague back into employment and will ensure it never happens again," he told them.

Safer system
After the drivers returned to their vehicles, Mr Dornan added: "I am pleased that we have got the assurance that the driver is back and we are now going to sit down with management in an attempt to get together a safer system, whatever we need to do to ensure no other driver will suffer from this because it is something that we do on a daily basis. "It is something that we have to do. It's something we are glad to do because it is something that aids and helps the disabled people."

Support for colleague
He said fellow drivers had given their colleague great support. "I am heartened at the support that they gave their colleague but the situation there was it could have happened to any one of them and that's why they were outraged, and they wanted the assurance it wouldn't happen to them."

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