Bus services and street cleaning will be impacted during Derry Jazz Festival due to strike

Street cleaning and bus services will be impacted in Derry during the Jazz Festival weekend which traditionally hosts more than 70,000 revelers.

erry City & Strabane District Council have informed the public of a new strike among council staff which will impact services from April 25th to May 1st.

The council has received notification from Unite the union of further strike action linked to a trade dispute over the 2021/22 national pay award.

The strike will take place in the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, which runs from April 28 to May 2.

This strike coincides with the withdrawal of all Ulsterbus and Metro bus services for one week from Monday 25 April.

The jazz festival is hugely popular with locals and tourists taking advantage of the holiday weekend.

A council spokesperson said: ‘The council fully respects the right of staff to take industrial action following a formal ballot.

‘Council expects considerable disruption to a range of our services including refuse collection, street cleaning and a number of other services throughout this period.’

The council said it “hoped” the strike would not have a negative impact on the festival.

“To date, hotel occupancy over the duration of the festival is very positive and after a reduced and virtual festival in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, organizers expect a large number of locals and visitors enjoy live musical events across the city during the May bank holiday.

“Every effort will be made to communicate details of the impact of the strike on services in order to keep the public informed.”

Regarding the bus drivers’ strike, the unions are demanding a 6% pay rise for bus workers in the region, but say Translink bosses have refused to back down on their 3% offer.

Translink said the company had made a 3% compensation offer “plus an improved package of terms including a 7% increase in weekend and overtime rates as well as two additional vacation days.”

The unions say around 85% of their members who voted backed the action.

Translink said: “We continue to work with unions to try to resolve this unprecedented strike and its potential impact on essential bus services, affecting local schoolchildren and the wider community.

“While we continue to discuss the issues with our unions, we are advising passengers to start making alternative travel arrangements for next week, including parents and guardians of children who normally travel on any service. Translink bus to and from school.

“Full refunds will be processed for online bookings for impacted bus services between Monday April 25 and Sunday May 1.

“We will continue to try to avoid this action and have ongoing talks with the unions. We will keep passengers informed as the situation develops.

Services were hit last month as council workers took industrial action after watching their pay ‘stall over the last decade, meaning in real terms their living standards fell by 11 per cent over the period”.

A poll organized by Unite the Union took place in the 11 member local authorities here, with bin collections in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council – to which Larne falls – and Derry and Strabane District Council worst affected.

The industrial action began on March 21 and lasted five days.

Willie J. Johnson