Public sector strikes against government-imposed austerity measures will see Mid Ulster grind to a stand still on Friday.
Unions representing staff working in schools, health care, the civil service and public transport have said “enough is enough” - and as a result Translink have cancelled all public transport, while many schools will close.
Concerned about the impact cuts will have on society as a whole, and questioning the move to downsize the public sector in favour of growing the private sector, members from a number of unions gathered in Cookstown last Friday night.
At the meeting they spoke of their disgust at £160m worth of public sector cuts - to be followed by further cuts totalling £1.3bn over the next four years.
“20,000 jobs are expected to be axed,” said Harry Hutchinson from Mid Ulster Trade Union Council, yet “Stormont parties are to spend hundreds of millions in redundancy payments and plan to further privatise state assets and services.”
Others at the meeting spoke of “school principals leaving meetings in tears” at the slashes they would have to make, massive losses in public transport along rural routes, cuts to benefits that will “hit the most vulnerable” and a public sector workforce that could buckle under the pressure when 20,000 jobs go.
Rallies in support of the strike will take place on Friday in Magherafelt, 10am at the Diamond, in Cookstown, 12noon on James Street (outside old Post Office) and in Dungannon, 2pm at South Tyrone Hospital.
Unions have said they hope this one-day strike will help them build for further industrial action and push for an alternative to austerity.