Today’s strike by up to 700 First Manchester Ltd bus drivers, members of Britain’s biggest union, Unite has had solid support with only a handful of buses leaving the Oldham depot (driven by the company’s management team) and services at Queens Road depot totally suspended.
Both parties have agreed to talks under the auspices of Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, starting tomorrow (Wednesday 25 May) in a bid to resolve the dispute.
The strike action over the company’s failure to honour the collective bargaining agreement and breaching the 2012 pay agreement has caused major disruption with services across Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford and Trafford affected.
Unite will be entering tomorrow’s negotiations in a constructive and positive fashion and urge First Manchester management to do the same.
The union’s members voted by a 98 per cent majority in favour of strike action.
Neil Clarke, Unite regional officer said: “Today’s disruption is regrettable but the blame lies squarely on First Manchester Ltd. It has within its power the ability to resolve this dispute at no financial cost to the business, all that is lacking is the desire.
“The company has shown time and time again that it is more willing to risk major disruption than take the concerns of its drivers seriously. Its claims not to know what the dispute is about are deeply insulting to our members.
“The company knows full well that this dispute is about them making changes to drivers’ conditions without consultation and backtracking on its longstanding industrial agreements. Some of the issues in dispute were the subject of discussions facilitated by Acas over a year ago, yet the company continues to fail to honour commitments made to the staff via Unite.
“We are urging First Manchester Ltd to sit down with Unite and start listening or risk further disruption over the summer months.
“It has been confirmed this afternoon that the respective parties will meet at Acas tomorrow morning in the hope of reaching a settlement to the current impasse”.
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774146777
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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