'Tremendous victory'

Lancashire bus strikes called off after drivers accept improved pay offer

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The threat of strike action involving bus drivers employed by Stagecoach in south Lancashire has ended after members of Unite accepted a vastly improved pay offer.

The 250 bus drivers, who are based at the company’s depots in Preston and Chorley, have accepted a one year pay increase which will see wages increase by 4.4 per cent.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “This is a tremendous victory by members of Unite, who by standing together have ensured they will receive a fair pay increase from Stagecoach.

“As a union, Unite is wholly dedicated to bettering members’ jobs, pay and conditions, either through negotiations or industrial action if necessary.”

Unite had announced strike dates for the drivers at Preston and Chorley for later this month but the initial action was suspended once Stagecoach tabled a fresh pay offer to allow members to be balloted.

The pay deal will run until May 2022, and Unite will be seeking a further pay rise for its members from that point.

Unite regional officer Alison Spencer-Scragg said, “As a result of this dispute Stagecoach’s management can be under no illusions that Unite is determined to eradicate low pay for bus workers once and for all.”

Meanwhile, Unite members employed at Stagecoach’s depot at Gilmoss depot in Liverpool, which was part of the same operating group (Ribble Motor Services Ltd) and who also balloted for strike action, have agreed a pay deal. Bus drivers pay rates will increase by 2.25 per cent over a 12 month period which ends next April. The drivers will also now receive the weekend enhancement rate for all the hours they work on a Saturday.

The Gilmoss agreement also covers engineers and cleaners. The cleaners will see their pay rates rise to the real living wage level of £9.50 an hour, while the engineers will see their pay increase by 2.25 per cent during the current pay round.

Unite currently has several other ongoing pay disputes involving Stagecoach throughout the UK.

By Barckley Sumner

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