Bus services in south Lancashire face severe disruption later this month as drivers employed by the Ribble Motor Services Ltd, part of the Stagecoach group, take strike action over low pay.
The 250 bus drivers based at the Preston and Chorley depots will take three days of strike action beginning on Thursday October 14 until the end of Saturday October 16. There will then be a further 48-hour strike beginning on Friday, October 22.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Low pay is the scourge of the bus industry right across this country. It is totally unacceptable that yet again workers are expected to carry the load. That’s why Unite will be relentless in its campaign to ensure that our members at Stagecoach receive a fair pay increase.”
Low pay rates are causing increasing driver shortages at both depots.
The strikes will disrupt bus services in the Preston area and services to Blackpool, Blackburn, Skipton, Southport and Bolton.
Despite Stagecoach pleading poverty the company remains extremely profitable with its latest accounts revealing that the group made a profit of £58.4 million. The company also has £875 million of available liquidity.
The strikes were called after members rejected the latest offer by management following extensive negotiations with Unite.
Unite regional officer Alison Spencer-Scragg said, “Our members have made it clear that they will no longer accept low pay.
“The planned strike action will undoubtedly cause widespread disruption to passengers across south Lancashire but the drivers believe they have no option but to take strike action to secure a decent wage,” she added.
“If the local management at Stagecoach wants to avoid these strikes then they should stop posturing, make a realistic pay offer and work with us to repair industrial relations.”
By Barckley Sumner