More than 1,000 Stagecoach Manchester bus drivers are striking today (11 August) after rejecting a renewed pay offer that does not include back pay.
According to trade union Unite, while an offer of around £14.3% was made to be implemented from September, rather than June, the agreed anniversary date for pay rises, a £750 one-off payment in lieu of full back pay was offered.
Today’s action forms the start of a four-day planned strike action on 11, 12, 13 and 14 August, with more strikes to be scheduled if a deal is not reached.
Sharon Graham, general secretary at Unite, said: “Stagecoach is making huge profits and can afford to improve this offer to one that is implemented from the correct anniversary date.
“Stagecoach has unnecessarily dragged out a dispute that could have been resolved months ago and is now trying to move the goal posts. Our members at Stagecoach Manchester will receive their unions full backing as they strike for a fair pay rise.”
Lee Wasnidge, managing director at Stagecoach Manchester said: “We’re extremely sorry that we will be running a reduced service in parts of Greater Manchester because of the industrial action being taken by Unite the Union. I would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding, and I want to reassure them that we remain committed to working with Unite the Union to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible.
“We have been negotiating intensively with Unite to reach a fair pay deal that recognises the commitment and professionalism of our workforce, whilst ensuring that pay rises are affordable. We have made a significantly improved, above inflation, offer of a 14.3% pay increase plus a one-off payment of £750. Unlike other public sector workers, our drivers have received above inflation pay increases over recent years, including during the pandemic, and so it was very disappointing that this latest offer was rejected.
“We know that Manchester depends on our services to keep the city moving, with over two million passenger journeys a week. Industrial action disrupts the lives of local people who depend on our buses to get to work and access public services, and impacts local businesses. As we look to reverse a 15% reduction in the number of people travelling by bus since the pandemic and drive improvements to bus services in the region, the focus of everyone should be on protecting the long-term sustainability of services.
“We remain open to negotiate further with Unite the Union to find a pay settlement that works for our staff, our business and most importantly, our customers.”