Sheffield bus strike: When will Stagecoach strike end and what do drivers want?
Union officials are hoping a meeting on Monday will pave the way for an end to the long-running Sheffield bus strike.
Drivers and engineers at Stagecoach have been on strike since the end of November because of a dispute between the company and the Unite union over pay.
The company was this week said to have started running some services using non-union drivers.
Now it has been confirmed talks between Stagecoach and Unite will take place on Monday, mediated by the conciliation service Acas.
Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “Unite has agreed to attend a meeting with Stagecoach on Monday that will be mediated by the conciliation service Acas.
"We hope that a solution can be found to bring an end to this dispute and the disruption it is causing. For that to happen, however, Stagecoach needs to put forward an offer that meets the expectations of our members. Stagecoach staff in South Yorkshire work hard and they deserve a pay rise that reflects that.”
ACAS talks to start
An Acas spokesperson added: “We are in touch with Unite and Stagecoach Yorkshire and we hope to host Acas talks on the drivers dispute next week.”
Meanwhile, Sheffield Trades Union Council said Stagecoach has tried to put some buses out into service, using non-union drivers and supervisors, for the first time this week.
“Unite members remain 100 per cent solidly on strike, so putting out a dozen or so buses will not break this strike,” said Sheffield TUC secretary Martin Mayer. “Stagecoach needs to come up with a proper wages offer instead of trying to get a handful of buses back out on the road.”
“It’s not conciliation that’s needed here, but a proper wages offer tabled to Unite’s representatives via the established collective bargaining machinery,” he added.
Stagecoach Yorkshire says it remains committed to resolving the pay dispute with the Unite union and has so far made six different pay offers, including the latest, above inflation offer that would see an immediate six per cent increase in the current rates of pay.
‘Drivers deserve good pay rise’
Phil Medlicott, managing director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, said: “Our staff deserve a good pay rise and that is what we have offered. However, there needs to be flexibility on both sides and we are hopeful that the talks with Acas will help to find a way forward in settling this dispute.
“Our teams have done an amazing job during the pandemic, and we very much appreciate everything they have done. But at the same time, we have a commitment to continue to protect jobs and ensure that future bus services in Yorkshire remain sustainable for our customers to continue to use.”
Unite says members want an immediate pay increase that will see their wages rise to a minimum of £11.40 an hour, which would put them on a par with staff at other bus operators in the region.
Sheffield TUC says drivers at First who drive buses on the same streets are looking to get £12 per hour in current wage talks, whilst Stagecoach Sheffield drivers receive less than £11 per hour.