Bus strike to continue in Manchester after talks collapse

Strike to continue on Go North West buses Credit: ITV Granada

A strike by bus drivers is set to continue into its second month after the collapse of talks aimed at resolving a dispute over new contracts.

The Unite union said protracted negotiations with Go North West had broken up without agreement, so industrial action in Manchester will continue "for the foreseeable future".

Go North West says most of the company's drivers have voted in favour of a new productivity deal.

More than 400 drivers who are members of Unite have been on all-out strike since February 28, with Saturday marking the end of the fifth week of action.

The strike started on February 28 Credit: ITV Granada

Unite claims new contracts will mean drivers will work longer hours for no extra pay.

"Unite has tried to resolve this dispute through negotiations and put forward over #1.3 million of savings proposals, but Go North West deemed this insufficient.

"As a result of the failure of the talks, Unite will be stepping up its campaign to ensure that Go North West drops its plans to fire and rehire its loyal workers.''

Bus drivers who have kept working throughout the pandemic, risking their health and that of their families, deserve better than this.

Ritchie James, Unite North West regional secretary

Go North West's website says: ''After the union's rejection of a compromise solution, Go North West took the decision to offer to drivers the opportunity to accept the productivity package individually.... 393 out of our 474 drivers (83%) volunteered to accept the new terms.

This is disappointing, especially as the Union’s action will be taking place after the vast majority of our drivers have already accepted the new productivity measures. 

Go North West website

The statement goes on: ''Although fewer people than normal are using our services at present, we are conscious that strike action could hit the passengers who depend on our services most including those working in the NHS and other vital services that are keeping the region going during the pandemic.  Therefore, to minimise disruption for passengers we are committed to maintaining the most comprehensive service we can throughout the strike period.''