Sunderland bus strikes suspended as GMB Union members vote on new pay offer after talks with Stagecoach

Bus drivers set to walk out over pay have agreed to vote on a new offer, with industrial action due to affect Stagecoach services in Sunderland suspended.

Stagecoach North East and the GMB Union have confirmed strike action has been suspended while members vote on an improved pay offer.

Drivers were next due to take action between Tuesday, November 15 and Saturday, November 19.

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Talks took place between the two parties on Friday, with union members offered a new pay deal.

A picture taken at a previous Stagecoach bus driver strike at Sunderland's depot.

Stuart Gilhespy, GMB Regional Organiser, said in a statement: “Following talks today, Sunderland’s bus drivers now have an improved pay offer. As a gesture of goodwill, industrial action has been suspended until workers have voted on the new offer.

“If they accept it, the strikes would be cancelled completely. But if they turn it down, GMB will meet with members immediately to discuss new strike dates.”

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The ballot for members will open on Monday, November 14 and close two days later on Wednesday, November 16, GMB confirmed.

Details on what happens next will become clear after this date.

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Further strike dates were due to take place in Sunderland, but these have now been suspended.

Steve Walker, Managing Director for Stagecoach North East, added: "We are pleased to have held constructive talks with GMB today and the union will be taking an offer forward for its members to vote on.

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“On this basis, we are pleased that GMB have agreed to suspend all future strike action planned in Sunderland and we will be able to run our normal service on these days.”

Further dates for industrial action – December 23 to 24 and December 26 to 27 – were announced by union members earlier this month.