Teesside bus strikes at ‘penny pinching’ Stagecoach to go ahead as talks break down
- Friday 5 November 2021
Bus passengers on Teesside are braced for disruption next week as workers employed by Stagecoach begin strike action over pay, following the collapse of peace talks.
Teesside strikes to go ahead
Strikes scheduled for Newcastle, South Shields and Sunderland have been paused to allow members to vote for an improved pay offer.
The dispute involves over 200 bus workers including drivers, engineers, cleaners, supervisors, managers and administrative staff, who have overwhelmingly voted in favour of strike action.
Bus workers deserve better
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Bus workers deserve far better than low pay and below inflation pay offers. These are not pay rises – they are pay cuts and utterly unacceptable. Stagecoach’s penny pinching must end.
“In recent weeks Unite members employed by Stagecoach throughout the UK, have been drawing a line in the sand, demanding and winning decent pay deals. Unite will win for Teesside’s bus workers too.”
The first day of 12 days of strike action is on Monday 8 November with further strikes called on 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 30 November and also for 2 and 4 December. The dispute involves workers based at bus depots in Hartlepool and Stockton. Passengers in Middlesbrough and Redcar, as well as those living further afield, will be affected by the dispute. Picket lines will be in place at the affected depots (see notes to editors).
Hopes of a deal to avert strike action collapsed this week at Stagecoach’s Teesside operation as the local managing director has refused to enter into collective negotiations to secure an agreement. He has instead attempted to undermine the union by making informal offers to Unite reps in depots.
Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mark Sanderson said: “The strikes will cause considerable disruption to bus passengers throughout Teesside but this strike is entirely of Stagecoach’s own making.
“The refusal of Stagecoach to take part in formal negotiations in an attempt to resolve this dispute speaks volumes about their disregard for the passengers and workers of Teesside.”
Tyneside and Wearside strikes paused
The bus workers based on Tyneside and Wearside have suspended the first three days of strike action (8, 10, 12 November) in order to ballot on an improved pay offer. If the offer is rejected then they will begin strike action on Tuesday 16 November.
Stagecoach North East operates under the trading names. Busways Travel Ltd, and Cleveland Transit Ltd. Despite pleading poverty Stagecoach’s parent company remains extremely profitable. Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic its accounts reveal that the group made a profit of £58.4 million and it has £875 million of available liquidity.
Notes to editors:
The depots taking part in the strike and where picket lines will be held are as follows:
Hartlepool: Brenda Road, Hartlepool
Stockton: Portrack Lane, Stockton.
12 days of strikes over Stagecoach North East bosses’ ‘divide-and-rule’ tactics on pay
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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.