South Yorkshire bus strike hitting businesses hard as city centre footfall drops

Empty Stagecoach buses
Going nowhere - some of the Stagecoach fleet.

Street traders in Barnsley say they've been badly hit by the latest bus strike in South Yorkshire. 

Hundreds of Stagecoach drivers have walked out in a dispute over pay. The company says the strike is unnecessary but the Unite union argues its members are the lowest paid in the region.  For some traders the walkout has led to a fall in business.

Barnsley stallholder John Duffield has seen his trade virtually disappear.

Meanwhile, Unite union officials and bus company bosses have revealed they are to meet on January 10th - mediated by the conciliation service ACAS.

It follows three weeks of strike action in Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham by bus drivers over a proposed pay rise.

The drivers voted to strike 'indefinitely' in the New Year as part of their ongoing pay dispute - but pledged not to strike over Christmas and the new year.

Dedicated school bus services would not be affected by the strike action in term-time, Unite said.

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said that while it was hoped a solution could be found to bring an end to the dispute and the disruption it was causing, for that to happen Stagecoach needed to put forward an offer that 'meets the expectation' of members.

Phil Medlicott, Managing Director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, said the company recognised the impact that Unite's actions were having on people locally, and shared people's frustrations over the damage being caused to local communities and businesses. 

Stagecoach remained 100% committed to reaching an agreement with Unite. "Our staff deserve a good pay rise and that is what we have offered. However there needs to be flexibility on both sides and we are hopeful that the talks with ACAS will help to find a way forward in settling this dispute."