Bus passengers face disruption during strike by drivers - The Leamington Observer

Bus passengers face disruption during strike by drivers

Ian Hughes 21st Aug, 2023   0

BUS drivers in Warwickshire are set to strike next month causing “severe disruption” for passengers.

Some 300 Stagecoach drivers, based at depots in Leamington, Stratford and Nuneaton, will walk out from Tuesday September 5 in a dispute over pay.

Drivers, who are currently paid £14 an hour, rejected a pay offer of 7.8 per cent for the first year and 4.5 per cent plus £100 for the second year.

This year’s pay rise was due to come into effect on July 1 when the real inflation rate was 11.3 per cent, which said the Unite union, which represents the drivers, made the proposed offer a “substantial real terms pay cut”.

Stagecoach runs the vast majority of the bus network in Warwickshire, with routes also extending into Coventry.

Unite regional officer Sulinder Singh said: “The all-out strike action will inevitably cause severe disruption to bus passengers throughout Warwickshire but this dispute is directly a result of Stagecoach’s refusal to make an offer which meets our members’ expectations.

“Stagecoach needs to stop prevaricating and return to the negotiating table with a fair pay offer.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the drivers played a vital role in keeping Warwickshire moving and they deserved a fair pay increase.

She added: “Stagecoach is an immensely wealthy company it can fully afford to pay its workers a decent wage, its failure to do so is because it is seeking to further boost its profits at the expense of its drivers.”

A spokesperson for Stagecoach Midlands said the company remained committed to reaching an agreement on pay, but was also working on contingency plans if the strike went ahead.

They told The Observer: “We have offered a further pay increase of 12.8 per cent on the back of an increase in basic pay of 16.3 per cent last year.

“We are aware of Unite’s intention to commence industrial action from September 5, however we are still in discussions with the union and have further meetings arranged. We hope we can agree on a fair deal for our people that will avoid the need for strike action. Strike action will unnecessarily effect our local communities and employees and will threaten the longer term sustainability of the local bus networks we operate today.

“We are currently working on plans should industrial action take place, to ensure we operate school and college services during strike days.”


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