First Manchester and Greater Manchester Accessible Transport drivers accept pay rises

First Manchester pay riseBus drivers employed by First Manchester and Greater Manchester Accessible Transport have accepted improved pay deals, ending the threat of strike action.

First Bus drivers in Oldham voted to accept a deal worth 18%, which includes a £1,100 payment in lieu of backpay from April, a 14.8% increase from September and a further 3.2% increase from 2 January 2024. Bank holiday pay has also increased to £20 per hour.

Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Accessible Transport drivers, who transport around 7,000 elderly, infirm or disabled people from their homes across the area, voted in favour of a 10% increase backdated to April, a £350 one-off payment for all staff and an extra day of holiday per year.

Planned strikes that were due to take place this week were suspended to allow workers to be balloted on the improved deals.

Greater Manchester Accessible Transport has also committed to signing up to the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter. This will impact employees’ terms and conditions, including improvements to sick pay, flexible working, security of work, fair pay and maternity leave.

Rob Hughes, operations director of First Manchester, said: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with Unite and acceptance of a generous offer which makes our drivers some of the best-paid in Greater Manchester together with additional employment benefits.

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“We have always approached pay talks with an open mind to try to resolve this dispute and move forward, allowing us to focus on the transition period to franchising and providing the people of Oldham with a great bus service. The whole team can now focus on continuing to deliver an excellent service throughout the communities we serve.”

Sharon Graham, general secretary at trade union Unite, added: “Congratulations to our First Oldham and Greater Manchester Accessible Transport members who achieved substantial victories by standing together in their union and refusing to back down. These results are further proof that Unite’s total concentration on improving jobs, pay and conditions is winning for our members.”