South Yorkshire bus strike called off as 'mark of respect' for Armed Forces Day

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A South Yorkshire wide bus strike due to take place this Saturday has been called off as a mark of respect for Armed Forces Day.

About 900 bus drivers across the county have postponed their strike over pay on Saturday as a mark of respect for veterans wishing to attend events on Armed Forces Day, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said this morning.

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But a strike affecting First South Yorkshire services will still take place for 24 hours on Monday 1 July, after drivers voted by 69 per cent for strike action and by 79 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.

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A bus strike has been called off.A bus strike has been called off.
A bus strike has been called off.

Unite said talks are being held with the management this Wednesday to resolve the dispute which centres on an ‘insulting’ offer of a one year pay freeze for the year starting May 2019.

Next Monday’s strike will mean that services run by the company in Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham, as well as part of the Derbyshire Dales will ‘grind to halt’, according to Unite.

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “As a mark of respect for veterans and other members of the public wishing to attend events on Armed Forces Day on Saturday we have postponed the 24 hours of strike action.

“At a meeting at the weekend, our shop stewards recognised that a strike on Saturday would cause severe inconvenience to veterans wishing to attend events across South Yorkshire – our dispute is with First South Yorkshire and not with current and past members of the armed forces who have bravely served their country.

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“I can confirm that the strike by our 900 bus drivers scheduled for Monday is still going ahead.

“We are holding talks with the management on Wednesday in a bid to resolve this dispute.

“The parent company First Group is highly profitable and made £65 million in profits from its UK bus division for the year ending 31 March 2019. This is a cash-rich organisation, which can well afford to make a decent pay offer.”

Armed Forces Day events are due to take place in Rotherham and Doncaster on Saturday, although Sheffield’s main Armed Forces Day parade took place in the city centre on Saturday.