Austen Shakespeare

Teesside bus service strikes called off after improved pay offer accepted

Strikes affecting bus services in Teesside, operated by Stagecoach, have been called off after workers accepted an improved pay offer.

Over 200 bus workers, based at Stagecoach’s depots in Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees, had taken four days of strike action this month.

Following fresh negotiations an improved pay offer was made to the workers, who are members of Unite, the UK’s largest union. This was accepted and further strike action has been cancelled.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a significant result for our members employed by Stagecoach. By standing together in unity they ensured that the company made a pay offer that met their expectations.

“Unite now does exactly what it says on the trade union tin: fight to defend our members’ jobs, pay and conditions. This approach is paying dividends for Unite members.”

The workers will receive a minimum pay increase of 8.5 per cent paid in several stages over the next 10 months.

The bus drivers’ grading system will also be revised so that new drivers with less than one year’s service will receive an upgrade, while all drivers with at least a years’ service will be placed on the top rate of pay.

From December 2022 all top rate drivers, duty managers and inspectors will receive a yearly 20 pence increase to ensure that parity is achieved with pay rates at the Sunderland depot within five years.

In addition, all workers with at least two months’ service prior to October 31 2021 will receive a £140 lump sum payment.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mark Sanderson said: “Special praise must go to Unite’s members who were prepared to take strike action to secure a fair pay offer.

“Unite always believed that this dispute could be resolved through negotiations and this eventually proved to be the case.

“The deal which was hammered out not only delivers a fair deal for members but also begins to tackle the pay inequalities faced by Teesside bus workers compared to other Stagecoach workers in the region.”

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