Strike dates confirmed as Stagecoach bus drivers set to walk out across Sunderland over pay row
GMB Union has announced that Stagecoach bus drivers across Wearside following a dispute over pay.
Union bosses have previously warned the city will ‘grind to a halt’ next month after GMB members voted to take action in a ballot which closed on Monday, September 26.
Following the vote, Union officials said strike action was ‘the last thing anybody wanted’ but insist workers have been left angry after being offered what it calls a ‘massive real terms pay cut’ of 4 per cent, with 2 per cent to follow later in the year.
The ballot saw 97 per cent of GMB members vote for industrial action on an 83 per cent turnout.
GMB met with Stagecoach today Friday, September 30 - but bosses said the bus operator refused to budge on their initial offer.
Stuart Gilhespy, GMB Organiser, said: “Sunderland’s bus drivers will be on strike five straight days in October. We met with Stagecoach today in the hope of finding some compromise, but they refused to put any more money on the table.
“As a result, the people of Sunderland will be desperately inconvenienced. Stagecoach has plenty of money but are refusing to invest in the workers – or in Sunderland’s bus fleet which is in a shocking state. It’s time they got their priorities straight before Sunderland grinds to a halt.”
Steve Walker, Managing Director for Stagecoach North East said: "We are very disappointed that despite further talks today, GMB are still pressing ahead with plans for strike action in Sunderland from Tuesday 11 October to Saturday 15 October.
“We have reached agreement with trade unions at our other north east depots, which cover the vast majority of our staff. The proposals we have put forward for Sunderland are similar and represent a good pay deal for our employees that would make them amongst the highest paid of any bus drivers in the region.
"We are putting in place arrangements to run the best service that we can for our customers during the strikes. More information on our timetables for these days will be available on our website next week.
"We are open to continuing talks with GMB and would urge them to keep talking rather than resorting to strike action, which will hit the pockets of our drivers and cause uncertainty in our communities."