Stagecoach Merseyside bus drivers and engineers strike over pay

Merseyside correspondent Andy Bonner reports from the picket line.

Dozens of bus drivers and engineers at Stagecoach in Merseyside have walked out in a dispute over pay.

A previous day of strike action, planned for 30 June, was cancelled to allow the workers to decide on a revised offer from the bus company.

However, Unite union members "overwhelmingly" decided it did not meet their expectations. 

The industrial action involves 370 workers based at Stagecoach’s Gilmoss depot in north Liverpool.

Stagecoach staff members strike against low pay in Liverpool. Credit: ITV News

The union says its members’ anger over low pay at Stagecoach is "deep-seated" and that pay rates are below those of competitors in the region.

Stagecoach say is has offered a "substantial pay increase" of more than 10% to employees that "would make them the highest paid bus drivers in Merseyside".

Unite say Stagecoach employees will be taking industrial action on Monday 4, Friday 15, Monday 18, Wednesday 20, Friday 22, Monday 25, Thursday 28 and Friday 29 July.

The action involves 370 members of Unite based at Stagecoach’s Gilmoss depot. Credit: ITV News

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Stagecoach makes money hand over fist. 

"Our members are making it abundantly clear that they will not accept being underpaid by this wealthy company any longer.

“Stagecoach can easily afford to pay its workers a decent wage but its repeated refusal to do so is why these strikes will go ahead."

If the dispute is not resolved then it is expected that further dates for industrial action will be announced in the near future.

Buses at the stagecoach depot in north Liverpool. Credit: ITV News

Matt Davies, Managing Director for Stagecoach Merseyside, said: "The two recent pay deals we offered were both supported by the union, so it is puzzling that it believes hurting local communities by strike action is now the way forward.

"We remain open for talks, which is the only route to reaching agreement and securing improved pay for our people. But without Unite showing some flexibility it's difficult to see how we can move forward.

"We're sorry that passengers will be inconvenienced by this strike action. A third of our workforce also voted against it."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know