Stagecoach bus strike talks scheduled with conciliation service ACAS in bid to end long running dispute

Talks between the GMB Union, Stagecoach and conciliation service ACAS have been scheduled following a long-running pay row.

Talks between GMB Union, Stagecoach and conciliation service ACAS are now set to take place tomorrow (Friday, November 11), in a bid to resolve the argument.

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A picket line strike outside Stagecoach North East's Sunderland depot during the first walk out

GMB has urged Stagecoach to take talks “seriously” and “improve the offer which has been repeatedly turned down by members”.

In response, Stagecoach North East urged GMB to use talks tabled with ACAS “to secure a pay agreement that will work for employees, bus passengers and the local community in Sunderland”.

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Stuart Gilhespy, GMB organiser, said: “We’ve finally got Stagecoach round the table and we urge them to take the talks seriously.

"Making the same offer over and over again, after it’s been turned down repeatedly by members, is not negotiation and it’s not going to end the dispute.

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Stagecoach bus drivers picket line strike over pay outside Stagecoach Sunderland Depot.

“The bus drivers are desperate for this dispute to end, but they need a pay deal to help them survive this cost of living crisis.

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"Stagecoach makes lots of money and could end this tomorrow – for the sake of the people of Sunderland, let’s hope they do.”

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The industrial action followed a ballot in which 97 per cent of GMB members voted for industrial action on an 83 per cent turnout.

Steve Walker, managing director of Stagecoach North East, said: “We’re pleased that GMB has agreed to come to talks with ACAS on Friday.

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"With an open mind and flexibility there is an opportunity to resolve the dispute and put an end to the unnecessary strike action that is causing major disruption for our communities and having a huge impact on the pockets of employees.

“We are committed to giving our staff a good pay rise, and have demonstrated that throughout our discussions with GMB, but any pay increase must be sustainable to protect the long-term viability of jobs and the bus routes that serve our local communities.”