Bus drivers, working for First Manchester Ltd, are being paid nearly £5,000 a year less than colleagues at a depot just five miles away, Unite has revealed.
The drivers, based at the Rusholme depot, are earning as much as £95-a-week less than those working out of the Queen’s Road depot (just the other side of Manchester city centre) and have mounted a campaign of strike action running until the end of November in their bid for pay harmonisation.
Unite said that ‘this glaring and unjust anomaly’ is a result of the purchase by First Manchester of the Rusholme depot from Finglands Coachways in 2013 when pay parity was promised.
“For four years First Manchester has repeated that pay will be harmonised, but it has always been jam tomorrow – and now our members are fed up with dry bread and the bosses’ stale words,” said Unite regional officer Neil Clarke.
“The Rusholme drivers do exactly the same job with the same commitment to passenger safety as their colleagues across Greater Manchester – and when they are driving within the city centre, they are even overlapping on the same routes.
“This is a glaring injustice that needs to be rectified urgently by the company which is part of one of Europe’s biggest and most profitable bus groups,” he added.
“While we appreciate that the 24 hour strikes on Mondays during October and planned throughout November are inconvenient for the travelling public, I am sure people understand the anger that the drivers feel being paid nearly £5,000 less a year than their colleagues doing the same job a few miles away. This dispute is about natural justice.
“We are seeking talks with the management with a view to getting a copper-bottomed guarantee that pay harmonisation will be introduced by regular increments as soon as possible.”
The drivers, who voted by an overwhelmingly 96 per cent for strike action, have already taken three 24 hour strikes, with the next one due on Monday, October 30. Further one day strikes are planned for November 6, 13, 20 and 27.