Fears have been raised over possible cuts to Translink jobs and bus services in Derry.
Independent Derry-Strabane Councillor Dee Quigley said recent budget cuts to Translink’s government funding was sparking great unease among workers locally.
Colr. Quigley said that sources within the company had revealed that already workers at Translink’s Pennyburn were being let go without being replaced.
Colr. Quigley accused transport authorities of “taking the grim reaper approach” and warned that “nobody is safe from these job cuts”.
He added that reports Translink bosses are seeking interest from private companies to run some of its bus services could have major implications for elderly bus pass holders.
The Journal has seen documents which state that 160 jobs could be lost, while bus services in towns and cities across the north could be reduced or stopped altogether.
Colr. Quigley said there could be 500 jobs lost within a few years if year-on-year cutbacks continued unchecked.
He added: “From my understanding, management are top heavy and front-line staff are going to face the axe first. People are genuinely worried about their jobs, people have mortgages to pay, debt to finance, families and children to worry about. It’s very worrying for staff and people indirectly involved such as sub-contractors .”
Colr. Quigley said he has been told that approaches have been made to private firms in Belfast as the viability of such operators taking over Translink services is explored. He added that he saw “no reason why that same approach might not be used here”.
“ I would be very worried about older people who have bus passes but they would have no service to use them on, so the bus pass would be irrelevant and so in a way this is a cost-cutting exercise impacting on the most vulnerable,” Colr. Quigley said.
A Translink spokesperson refused to rule out cuts impacting on Derry yesterday. She said: “As a consequence of the significant reduction in government funding of £15 million, around 20% in 2015 /2016, Translink is considering measures that would need to be taken to adapt to these cuts and their associated impact. As part of this, we are currently reviewing how we can best design our network to work within our allocated resources while protecting the routes most important to our customers. No decisions have been taken at this stage over 2015/16 service efficiencies and we will engage with local stakeholders should any local service changes be proposed.”