Stagecoach strike Sheffield: Union members announce 'indefinite strike' starting New Year's Day

Stagecoach’s bus drivers have threatened an ‘indefinite strike’ will begin on New Year’s Day if the firm’s management do not stop “dragging their heels”.

Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 8:44 am

Members of the Unite union stepped up their warnings yesterday promising the ongoing strike action of the past month will become permanent on January 1/2.

It comes as over 560 drivers and members are currently in the midst of their second week of strike action this month, affecting dozens of services across Sheffield and South Yorkshire.

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Stagecoach bus drivers have threatened indefinite strike action starting on New Year's Day if the firm does not stop "dragging its heels" over a pay dispute.

A statement posted by Unite North East, Yorkshire and Humber yesterday (December 15) reads: “Stagecoach Yorkshire management have had plenty of time to resolve the ongoing dispute, but they're dragging their heels.

"Unite the union members have no option but to escalate their action. Indefinite strike action will start on January 1/2, 2022, across South Yorkshire affecting Rotherham, Barnsley, Sheffield and Doncaster."

Stagecoach is yet to acknowledge the proposed action in its publications or set out how it will affect services.

If it is the same as the two most recent strikes – held from November 26 to December 3 and from December 11 to 18 – it is likely Supertram services will not be affected, while the following Sheffield services would run a normal service:

X17 - Barnsley - Meadowhall - Sheffield- Chesterfield - Matlock

43/44 - Sheffield - Woodseats - Chesterfield

50/50a - Sheffield - Mosborough - Eckington - Chesterfield

53 - Sheffield - Mosborough - Eckington - Mansfield

65 - Meadowhall - Sheffield - Buxton

80/80a Sheffield - Crystal Peaks - Killamarsh - Chesterfield

The ongoing dispute with Stagecoach and the Unite trade union affects over 560 members who say they have been cumulatively paid below inflation for over a decade.

Unite voted to reject a new pay deal put forward by Stagecoach on Friday afternoon.

Members walked out in the week leading up to December 3 after reportedly being offered a two per cent pay rise in November, which Unite labeled a “poverty pay rise”.

The new deal offered a total offer of a nine per cent rise within six months, made up of an increase to the hourly pay rate of six per cent, with a further three per cent in the next six months.

Unite said the offer “fell well below their expectations”.

Stagecoach Yorkshire’s managing director Phil Medicott said the firm was “100 per cent committed to reaching an agreement”.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said last week: “Low pay is the fundamental reason why workers are voting with their feet and leaving the bus sector. Stagecoach can afford to offer workers a fair pay rise but it has chosen not to do so.”

It comes on the same day coach company National Express would take over Stagecoach in an all-shares takeover merger to create a combined firm worth about £1.9bn and a workforce of 70,000. Shareholders are yet to vote on the deal.

The companies stressed there would be no job losses among drivers, or depot closures, as a result of the deal.

Stagecoach chairman Ray O’Toole will become chairman of the merged group.