South Yorkshire bus strikes on cards

Fresh South Yorkshire bus strikes in January after Stagecoach refuses to move on pay

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Fresh bus strikes will hit South Yorkshire in January after Stagecoach refused to offer a ‘reasonable’ pay deal to staff, Unite said on Wednesday (December 15).

More than 560 bus workers are involved in the dispute affecting Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield, which has intensified this week after 95 per cent rejected a revised pay offer that did not meet their expectations.

Indefinite all-out strike action will begin on January 1 in Barnsley and Rotherham and January 2 in Sheffield.

The workers, who earn £10.52 an hour in Sheffield and £10.80 an hour in Barnsley and Rotherham, want their pay to increase to a minimum of £11.40 an hour.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Stagecoach is pleading poverty – but we know it’s just hot air. Stagecoach is extremely profitable, raking in nearly £60 million during 2020, hence National Express’ takeover of the company.

“Our members know that Unite will fight to defend and improve their jobs, pay and conditions and we will continue to support this campaign until Stagecoach’s South Yorkshire staff are offered a reasonable pay deal,” she added.

Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, Stagecoach’s latest accounts reveal that the group made a profit of £58.4 million in 2020 and that it has £875 million of available liquidity.

The current round of strike action in Barnsley and Rotherham will end this Saturday (December 18) and Sunday (December 19).

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.

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said, “Our members are the lowest paid in the region and are determined to end this pay injustice. Menacing comments from Stagecoach’s regional managing director, Phil Medlicott, who said the strikes put ‘employees’ own jobs at risk’, has only strengthened their resolve.

“The last thing our members want is to cause disruption to members of the public, which is why they have pledged not to strike over Christmas. Unless Stagecoach tables an offer that they can accept, however, strikes will resume from 1 January.”

By Ryan Fletcher

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