Unite, the UK’s leading union, has announced further strike dates in the ongoing pay dispute involving bus workers employed by Stagecoach in South Yorkshire.

Poverty pay

Over 560 bus workers are involved in the dispute, which is a result of Stagecoach making a poverty pay offer of just two per cent to its workers.

The current initial week of strike action will end this weekend. Strike action in the Barnsley and Rotherham area will then resume on Saturday 11 December and end on Saturday 19 December.

Strikes in the Sheffield area will begin the following day (Sunday 12 December) and continue until Sunday 20 December.

Unite support

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Low pay is the fundamental reason why workers are voting with their feet and leaving the bus sector. Stagecoach can afford to offer workers a fair pay rise but it has chosen not to do so.

“Unite is the union which will always fight for the jobs, pay and conditions of its members. Our members employed by Stagecoach in South Yorkshire will have the total support of their union until this dispute is resolved.”

The fresh week of strike action has been called as a result of Stagecoach making no attempt to resolve the dispute or even indicating that it was prepared to enter into further negotiations.

No Christmas strikes

However, Unite has made the commitment that there will not be any strike action over the Christmas period so that passengers will be able to visit their friends and relatives. If the dispute remains unresolved than strikes will resume in the new year.

Unite members on the picket lines report very strong support from the general public and have received regular supplies of hot food and drinks to keep them warm and boost their morale. In one case a member of the public arranged for a dozen pizzas to be delivered to the striking workers.

The workers have also received strong support from local MPs including Louisa Haigh, Clive Betts and Olivia Blake, who have all visited the picket line.

General public support

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “The support that Unite has received from the general public has been a terrific boost to our members’ morale. Local people recognise that our members deserve fair pay and it is about time that Stagecoach also accepted this.

“The strike action is being taken as a last resort.  A resolution is in Stagecoach’s hands – further industrial action can be avoided if Stagecoach makes a fair pay offer and returns to the negotiating table.”

Wealthy company

Despite the pandemic Stagecoach, which is the UK’s largest bus operator, has remained highly profitable. It made a profit of £58.4 million in 2020 and has £875 million of available liquidity.

A recent survey of Unite activists in the bus industry discovered far higher levels of driver shortages than had previously been admitted.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Stagecoach poverty pay offer forces South Yorkshire bus drivers to strike 

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

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.