Unite bus wins

Unite celebrates a number of bus dispute victories against Stagecoach

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Unite has celebrated a number of bus dispute victories resulting in significantly improved pay offers after members stood together and threatened strike action.

Dozens of bus drivers and cleaners employed by Stagecoach in Chesterfield secured a one-year pay rise which will see wages increase by 4.5 per cent. Now the threat of strike action has ended as the workers, based at the Stonegravels depot, have voted to accept the pay deal.

Unite had announced strike dates for the Stonegravels depot during October 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 secretary Paresh Patel hailed the deal, noting, “As a result of this dispute Stagecoach’s management can be under no illusion that Unite is determined to eradicate low pay for bus workers once and for all.

 “It was clear all along that Stagecoach could well afford this pay rise, but was trying to use Covid as an excuse to offer less,” he added. “Unite will not let our members pay the price for the pandemic.”

The threat of strike action has also ended on Manchester’s bus services after over 1,000 bus drivers likewise accepted a greatly improved pay offer.

Having voted overwhelmingly for industrial action and with strikes due to begin later this month, fresh pay talks were held and a new offer of a 3.7 per cent pay increase backdated from October 1 2021 as well as a £150 non-consolidated, one-off payment, was made. Members overwhelmingly voted to accept the deal.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Stagecoach East bus workers across Fife, Perth and Strathtay also celebrated victory after voting to accept a significantly improved pay offer, which likewise ended the threat of strike action.

Earlier this month, the 600 Stagecoach East workers including drivers, engineering staff, administrative workers, and cleaners, rejected a previous offer with Unite stating at the time that there was ‘some distance to go’ to meet the pay demands of its members.

The Stagecoach East workers had previously backed taking strike action in the pay dispute by huge margins.  

Commenting, Unite regional coordinator Dougie Maguire said, “Strike action will now not be necessary thanks to the solid stance taken by our members, who it should be remembered, have kept the country moving during this pandemic. The message for workers is clear. You can succeed in improving your terms and conditions at work, join Unite and be prepared to challenge your employer.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham hailed the latest Unite wins against Stagecoach in various parts of the UK, calling the successes “tremendous” victories by members of Unite.

“By standing together they have ensured Stagecoach made them a new pay increase which was much improved on the initial offer,” she said. “As a union, Unite is wholly dedicated to bettering members’ jobs, pay and conditions, either through negotiations or industrial action if necessary.”

By Hajera Blagg

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