HULL BUS drivers, employed by Stagecoach, are striking over pay. Some 300 drivers walked out last Saturday following a mass meeting. It had rejected a company proposal for a phased pay increase that would only bring an hourly rate of £6.84.
The drivers want £7.00 an hour (they currently earn the princely sum of £6.20 an hour). A further 24-hour strike took place on Monday this week. Stagecoach are relying on a group of 50 managers to run services during the strikes. However, this is only a fraction of the normal service. The strikers are in determined mood but they will have to hold more strikes if Stagecoach is going to be beaten.
BUS WORKERS in Warrington staged the first of three one-day strikes on Friday of last week. The stoppage involved 169 drivers and workshop staff employed by Warrington Borough Transport. The next strike was due to take place on Wednesday this week and then another next Monday.
Last week's strike day saw big picket lines outside the main bus depot. Parking areas normally empty during the day quickly filled up with buses. WBT has offered workers a 4.9 percent pay rise, backdated to April with a further 4 percent next April.
But workers, members of the TGWU union, say they receive significantly lower wages than other bus companies in the area. Neil Clarke, regional industrial organiser for the TGWU, said that staff had been pushed into walking out. 'Industrial action is almost unheard of among transport workers in Warrington,' he said. Many live in the area and have been working here for years. They have families in the community and their customers are very important to them.'
'But even with the initial 4.9 percent rise, staff would still be paid around £1 an hour less than their colleagues in Halton.' Workers voted two to one for action in a ballot.
STRIKES WHICH were set to hit bus services in South Cheshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle this week have been suspended after 11th-hour talks. Engineers working for First Group were due to stage a walkout on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week over pay. But the action has been suspended after a last-ditch meeting.
The strike was set to involve members of the TGWU and Amicus-a total of about 50 engineers working at the company's depots in Adderley Green, Newcastle and Crewe.
THE YORK bus drivers who have held five days of strikes have voted to accept a new pay offer. The walkouts by First York workers have forced bosses to improve the deal. But the vote to accept was close, with some workers wanting to continue the battle and to go ahead with a strike planned for this week.
In the end the vote was 121 for the new deal, 70 against. The new offer was for pay of £7.20 an hour, with a new 37-hour working week, one hour less than at present. The original claim was for £8 an hour. Bosses had originally said that £7 was the maximum on offer and that drivers should be happy with this 'good deal'.
Drivers had earlier walked out on 27 August, and for four days from 30 August to 2 September. They had planned to take action on Wednesday this week.