The travelling public in Merseyside will face severe disruption when 120 bus drivers, based at Stagecoach Rock Ferry garage, go on strike for a fortnight on Wednesday 28 December in a long-running dispute over pay.
Bus services on the Wirral and in Chester and Liverpool will be hit, especially the river tunnel from Birkenhead to Liverpool, when the drivers walk out at 00:01 on 28 December. The strike is due to end at midnight on Tuesday 10 January.
The drivers have not had a pay rise since 2015 and after eight months of negotiations by the country’s largest union, Unite, the highly profitable company has failed to increase its offer of 1.5 per cent for 2016 and two per cent for 2017.
The drivers have voted by 81 per cent for strike action.
Unite regional officer Ritchie James said: “Unite has been involved in extensive negotiations with Stagecoach to secure an increase that reflects the contribution our members have made to the financial profitability of the company.
“After eight months of negotiation, the bosses have said that any offer can only be improved if it were self-financed by the drivers, which is totally unacceptable as inflation begins to rise.
“The company was prepared to offer inferior terms to ‘new starters’ to enhance the pay by five pence per hour for current drivers – this would have seen a reduction of £620 for the first year of employment of every new driver coming to work at Rock Ferry.
“This is completely unacceptable to our members who have seen the company put the same offer to the workforce on three occasions and for the offer to be rejected on each occasion.
“The offer for 2016 of 1.5 per cent is in the bottom ten per cent of pay settlements that have been negotiated with Stagecoach across the UK by Unite. The two per cent offer for 2017 is well below the inflation forecasts for next year.
“The Rock Ferry garage only recently became a ‘Gold Standard’ recognised garage within the Stagecoach group due to the success and operation of the services by Unite drivers.
“Our members are taking action as a last resort as this very profitable company is not prepared to fairly reward the Merseyside drivers who have contributed to that success.
“The fortnight of strike action will cause severe disruption to bus passengers on Merseyside which we regret. However, Unite’s door is open 24/7 for constructive talks with the management to reach a settlement.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite regional officer Ritchie James on 07736171546.
The Unite press office is: 020 3371 2065
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
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.