Bus drivers in South Yorkshire could walk out over pay freeze

Bus drivers in South Yorkshire could go on strike next month over a proposed pay freeze.

By The Star Newsroom
Thursday, 09 May, 2019, 11:17

Unite is balloting its members at First South Yorkshire over possible industrial action, with voting opening next Wednesday, May 15 and due to run until early June.

Should they vote for industrial action, the union said, a strike could begin in mid-June.

First bus drivers in South Yorkshire are being asked to vote on possible industrial action

The bus operator's managing director Garry Birmingham has written to staff, urging them to vote against industrial action.

In the letter, seen by The Star, he says proposals were made to impose a one-year pay freeze on all staff, including managers, after the company’s accounts showed ‘another significant operating loss’.

He claims the wages and conditions for the firm’s drivers are the best available in South Yorkshire, following increases over a ‘number of years’ despite its ‘challenging financial position’, and the firm is ‘committed’ to keeping them that way.

"If you were contemplating voting for industrial action, I seriously encourage you to reflect on the inconvenience your action will have on our customers, stakeholders and other colleagues; and also the risk any industrial action poses to the future of everyone at First South Yorkshire,” the letter states.

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"Please be aware that only a simple majority is required to carry the vote for industrial action, so I would encourage you to vote, and to vote NO, to any form of industrial action."

Unite regional officer Phil Brown said: “First Group is a highly profitable company. The losses at First South Yorkshire are only paper losses and have been reducing year on year due to the hard work and dedication of Unite’s members.

“Workers are not going to allow this company to impose a real terms pay cut on them, especially given their hard work, dedication and commitment.”

Mr Birmingham said: “We’re aware that our drivers in South Yorkshire will shortly be balloted by Unite the Union on whether to take part in industrial action.

“The ballot will conclude on June 5 and we will keep customers informed of any developments over the coming weeks.”