Drivers from both First Manchester and Stagecoach Manchester are to strike for nine days over August and September over ‘derisory’ pay offers Unite, the UK’s leading trade union, announced today (Friday 11 August).

Industrial action by around 1,500 drivers is predicted to bring chaos to the city as it coincides with a Manchester United home game at Old Trafford, a concert by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at Whythenshawe Park, Pride weekend and the return of schools.

Strikes will be taking place on the following dates:

  • August Bank Holiday Weekend: 25, 26, 27, 28 August 2023
  • September: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 September 2023

Stagecoach drivers are taking action over a failure to backdate a pay offer. While an improved offer of around 14.3 per cent was made - taking the hourly rate to £16 an hour - the deal would have been implemented from September rather than June, the agreed anniversary date for pay rises. Instead, a £750 one-off payment in lieu of full back pay was offered.

Stagecoach’s latest financial report showed its adjusted profit before tax increased 98 per cent to £36.4 million in the six months to 29 October 2022. For the 2021/2022 financial year, Stagecoach reported revenues of almost £1.2 billion with adjusted profits of £72.7 million.

Industrial action is already underway by Stagecoach drivers beginning today and lasting four days.

First Manchester drivers say that without a significant pay rise, chronic staff shortages and overwork will worsen at the company. The workers have rejected a 7.4 per cent pay offer backdated to April with a further 3.4 per cent in October.

First Groups’ 2022 annual report, released today, shows that operating profits increased by more than £6 million to £226.8 million.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “First and Stagecoach pay their workers derisory wages, yet their profits continue to soar. Not only are the drivers struggling with rising living costs, the low wages paid by these companies are causing staffing shortages its workers are bearing the brunt. This cannot go on.

"Unite’s focus on defending and bettering our members’ jobs, pay and conditions means Manchester’s drivers will receive their union’s full and unwavering support.”

Unite regional officer Colin Hayden said: “This dispute will bring chaos to one side of Manchester. First Manchester and Stagecoach need to put forward offers that meet the workers' expectations. They can both clearly afford to. Our members don’t want to strike and any disruption caused will be entirely the fault of the bus companies for putting greed over the interests of the travelling public.”


Notes to editors:

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications adviser David Carnell on 07718 666592.

  • 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.