'We stand 100% behind Cambus members'
10 days of January strikes at Cambus over pay set to cause travel chaos in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Unite warns
About 400 workers at Cambus, who have not had a pay rise since April 2019, have voted to hold 10 days of strike action next month, starting on Tuesday, January 4, Unite the union said today (December 21).
Unite said its members – drivers, engineers, cleaners and shunters – based at Cambridge, Fenstanton and Peterborough had voted by 96 per cent to hold the strike days which will run from January 4 through to Thursday, January 20. These include a five-day stoppage from January 4 to 9 and a series of 24-hour stoppages from January 10-11, 12-13, 15-16, 17-18 and 19-20.
The workers employed by Cambus Ltd, part of the highly profitable Stagecoach bus ‘empire’, have rejected a 1.5 per cent pay offer from April 2021 with a further 1.5 per cent this month for the pay year 2021/22 – at a time when the RPI rate of inflation has soared to 7.1 per cent.
The union predicted that the strikes will cause travel chaos for workers and leisure travellers throughout the county – on the day (January 4) that Stagecoach East is introducing a new fare structure which the company claims will mean ‘92% of our customers will pay the same or less for their bus ticket as a result of these changes’.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “We will be standing 100 per cent behind our members at Cambus who have not had a pay rise since April 2019. They have suffered a dramatic cut in pay in real terms, especially as inflation has now reached a decade-high of 7.1 per cent and household bills have gone through the roof.
“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 in liquid assets.”
Unite regional officer Mark Plumb added, “Our members should not pay for the continuing pandemic, while the employer has readily scooped up UK taxpayer support, including cash from the furlough scheme. The 10 days of strike action will, unfortunately, cause travel chaos for bus users across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
“However, there is now a window of opportunity for the management to come forward with a realistic pay offer for our members that reflects the fast-rising rate of inflation, otherwise the strikes will go-ahead.”
Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers’ living standards.
By Shaun Noble