Unite, the UK’s leading union, and Optare PLC, a leading UK producer of mass-transit buses, have today (Wednesday 23 December) announced the immediate suspension of the industrial action taken by Unite’s members at Optare’s manufacturing plant in Sherburn in Elmet, Leeds.

After comprehensive discussions, both parties recognise that some form of pay settlement is important but at this time of considerable uncertainty, accept that it is not currently possible. 

Unite and Optare have agreed to work together on a payment mechanism to address this, ready for implementation once recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is clear and future orders have come in. 

Both parties also welcome real progress on the UK prime minister’s pledge to purchase 4,000 British made zero emission buses. 

Delivery on this promise from the UK government will provide Unite’s members with fresh optimism and also create an opportunity to grow Optare’s workforce in the future. 

Both parties are committed to pushing the case with the UK government towards achieving these joint objectives.

Unite and Optare have come to this conclusion amicably and agree to work together going forward to build a deeper working relationship that will deliver for the Optare workforce and for the sustainable future of the manufacturing operations in Yorkshire.

Unite national officer for automotive Steve Bush said: “Unite is pleased that this dispute has been suspended, with Optare agreeing to work with the union to implement a future pay rise and other benefits for our members.

“We look forward to working constructively Optare to ensure the firm’s, and our members’, continuing success.”


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected]

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.