Around 400 bus drivers at Go North East’s depots in Deptford in Sunderland and Washington held a one day strike on Monday.
The strike was extremely solid across the two garages and had a major impact on services in Sunderland and the surrounding area.
The drivers have rejected a 2 percent offer over 18 months.
By 5am there was already strong picketing at the depots. At Deptford workers picketed both entrances. Later in the morning around 30 drivers gathered at the bus station with placards.
One picket told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had a lot of problems since a new managing director arrived. It seems the bosses can’t even spell the word consultation.”
Graham Eastwood from Unite added, “This is a company that is still generating millions of pounds in profit, despite the fact there is a recession.
“We have got drivers working for Go North East at other depots who are on almost 50p an hour more than those who are on strike.
“This is not about greedy bus drivers – it is about fairness and equality and trying to get equal treatment across the board.”
Go North East is part of the Go Ahead transport company. Union activists at Go Ahead in London have also threatened action after the company said it was not offering any pay rise this year.
The company found the cash to buy East Thames Buses when Transport for London privatised it earlier this year by.