Stagecoach bus drivers announce Christmas strike dates in Sunderland as dispute over pay continues

Stagecoach bus drivers are set to strike for a further eight days during November and December.

Around 200 GMB members are locked in a dispute with Stagecoach North East at the city’s depot over pay and have already staged seven-strike days throughout October.

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The union has now announced a further eight days where Stagecoach bus services across Sunderland will grind to a halt, which includes November 5; November 15 to 19; December 23 to 24 and December 26 to 27.

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GMB say their members are ‘so desperate’ they are taking industrial action to try and make ends meet.

Stuart Gilhespy, GMB Organiser, said: “It’s not clear why Stagecoach is punishing loyal drivers like this. They’re making pots of money, but want workers to survive on miserly pay and Dickensian working conditions. Drivers are doing the only thing they can to make ends meet for their families – withdrawing their labour.

“Instead of continuing to bring misery to their staff and the people of Sunderland, why won’t Stagecoach get round the table and offer a pay deal to help drivers with the cost of living crisis?”

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A Stagecoach North East spokesperson said: "Stagecoach North East has made offers to the GMB union which would make Sunderland drivers amongst the highest paid of any bus drivers in the region. In spite of this, today's announcement regarding further industrial action represents yet another demonstration of GMB attempting to maximise disruption to local communities during an important period for families across Sunderland.

"We would like to assure customers that, if these strike days go ahead, we will be doing everything we can to keep services running to support our local communities, with full service details announced at our earliest opportunity.

"We continue to urge GMB to reopen talks with us to try and agree a realistic pay deal rather than taking further days of action which are impacting our drivers and customers."