Stagecoach Manchester bus drivers walk out on four day strike

More than 1,000 bus drivers with Stagecoach Manchester are going on strike or four days Credit: ITV News

A four day strike by more than 1,000 Stagecoach Manchester drivers will start on Friday 11 August after workers rejected a renewed pay offer.

The action means a limited service will be running in parts of Greater Manchester on 11,12, 13 and 14 August, but services in Middleton and Wigan running as normal.

The Unite Union said while an improved offer of around 14.3 per cent was made - taking the hourly rate to £16 an hour - the deal would have been implemented from September rather than June, the agreed anniversary date for pay rises.

Instead, a £750 one-off payment in lieu of full back pay was offered.

The Union added Stagecoach’s latest financial report showed its adjusted profit before tax increased 98 per cent to £36.4 million in the six months to 29 October 2022.

For the 2021/2022 financial year, Stagecoach reported revenues of almost £1.2 billion with adjusted profits of £72.7 million.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "Stagecoach is making huge profits and can afford to improve this ‘strings attached’ offer to one that is implemented from the correct anniversary date.

"Stagecoach has unnecessarily dragged out a dispute that could have been resolved months ago and is now trying to move the goal posts.

"Our members at Stagecoach Manchester will receive their unions full backing as they strike for a fair pay rise."

Strike action will take place on 11, 12, 13 and 14 August. Bus services across the whole of Manchester will be severely affected and picket lines will be in place at Ashton, Stockport, Hyde Road and Sharston depots from 5am each morning.

More strikes will be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved.

Unite regional officer Colin Haydon said: "Our members do a difficult and challenging role and will not accept a deal that deprives them of months of pay they are entitled to.

"Their resolve is rock solid – the only way this dispute will end is if Stagecoach puts forward an acceptable offer."

Lee Wasnidge, managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, said a pay offer had been rejected. He said: "The strike will be damaging to everybody and cause severe disruption to our customers who depend on the bus to get to work, education and for appointments.

"The management team at Stagecoach have been working hard to agree an industry leading pay settlement. We have made a substantial offer which would see our drivers' headline pay rates increase by 14.3 per cent and in addition, every driver would receive an immediate one-off payment of £750."

"Our offer would make Stagecoach drivers amongst the best-paid in the region with excellent terms and conditions.

"It is therefore incredibly disappointing that our above rate of inflation deal, has been rejected."

Mr Wasnidge continued: "We are focused on finalising an agreement as quickly as possible to avoid any industrial action and remain fully committed to engaging in further discussions with Unite the Union to enable us to reach a resolution as quickly as possible."