Over 1,000 bus workers employed by First Bus in Leeds will be taking part in a one day strike on Monday (13 June) after the highly profitable bus firm refused to improve a ‘pitiful’ pay offer.
Describing the action as the ‘last resort’, their union, Unite, blamed First Bus management’s unwillingness to find a negotiated solution in talks at the conciliation service Acas.
First Bus made an £11 million profit from its services in Leeds last year while senior managers enjoyed in some cases a five per cent rise in pay and bonuses. Meanwhile the bus workers are being offered a rise of just 16 pence an hour for this year and 20 pence for next year.
The bus workers operating out of the Bramley and Hunslet Park depots in Leeds are among the lowest paid in First Bus’s Yorkshire operations with colleagues in Halifax earning up to £2 an hour more.
The pay dispute comes at the same time as First Bus cuts the use of ‘bendy’ buses in Leeds, making 45 people redundant to save £1 million per year. The one day strike is scheduled to start at 02:01 on Monday 13 June.
Commenting Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “First Bus makes massive profits from the travelling public in Leeds and the hard work of our members who keep the city on move day in, day out.
“Strike action is very much the last resort, but faced with management’s refusal to improve on its pitiful pay offer and negotiate meaningfully at Acas, our members feel forced into taking this action.
“All our members are looking for is fair treatment and recognition for their hard work. We would urge First Bus management to drop its hard line attitude which risks causing disruption for the travelling public and enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.”
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Phil Bown on 07980 710020.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.