Stagecoach moves to reassure passengers as Sunderland bus drivers vote on proposed strike

Transport company chiefs have moved to reassure passengers as Sunderland bus drivers vote on a proposed strike.

Stagecoach is reassuring passengers.
Stagecoach is reassuring passengers.

GMB organiser Stuart Gilhespy warned if members vote to strike the city will ‘grind to a halt’.

The union says workers are angry after being offered what it calls a ‘massive real-terms pay cut’ of 4%, with 2% to follow later in the year.

But Stagecoach North East has said services will keep running in the city regardless of any strike action.

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Steve Walker, managing director for Stagecoach North East said: "We are very disappointed that GMB is pressing ahead with a ballot for strike action.

"We believe our proposals represent a good pay deal for our employees, having been accepted by over 66% of members at other local depots.

"Regardless of the outcome of GMB’s ballot, we would like to reassure customers that bus service levels would not be affected by any strike action and services wools (sic) continue to run as normal if action went ahead.

"We have worked constructively with GMB and our pay proposals set out to ensure the long-term sustainability of the bus network for local communities, at a time when passenger numbers are significantly below the level needed to cover the costs of running services.

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“Stagecoach North East has already reached agreements for the same deal with trade unions at other north east depots, including in Newcastle. We remain open to continuing discussions with the union and would urge them to continue working with us to find a way forward.”