Greater Manchester is braced for severe travel disruption later this month as over 1,000 bus drivers employed by Stagecoach begin strike action over pay.

The workers recorded an overwhelming yes vote in favour of strike action in response to the company failing to make a realistic pay offer.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Low pay is the scourge of the bus industry. Stagecoach made profits touching £60m last year and has £875m in the bank. Yet it claims it cannot make a decent inflation-busting offer to its staff. 

 “Unite will be relentless in its campaign to ensure that our members at Stagecoach receive a fair pay increase. Stagecoach’s management leaves us with no alternative.”

In the next month there will be a total of eight days of strike action. The first strike will begin on Tuesday 26 October with a further strike on Friday 29 October.

The remaining dates already announced are 1, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 of November. The planned strike on Saturday 6 November coincides with the Manchester derby.

Stagecoach is the largest bus operator in Greater Manchester (where it trades as the Greater Manchester Bus Company South).

The bus drivers are based at the company’s depots in Hyde Road, Sharston, Stockport and Ashton. The disruption to services will effect passengers throughout Greater Manchester and beyond as the company operates routes to Wigan, Oldham and Rochdale.

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “The planned strike action will undoubtedly cause huge disruption for bus passengers across Greater Manchester but this dispute is directly of Stagecoach’s making.

 “Unite’s members simply will not accept low pay any longer. The solution to the dispute is in Stagecoach’s hands. If it wishes to avoid strike action then it needs to make a pay offer in line with our members’ expectations.”

The company’s refusal to make a realistic pay offer, despite extensive negotiations, has infuriated the workforce who continued to work throughout the pandemic to ensure that key workers in Manchester could get to work – at times risking their health and that of their families.

Despite Stagecoach pleading poverty the company remains extremely profitable. Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, its latest accounts reveal that the group made a profit of £58.4 million and it has £875 million of available liquidity.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

 Manchester Stagecoach bus drivers to vote for strike action over pay

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

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

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.