'Severe disruption' fears as Chesterfield bus drivers announce pre-Christmas strike over pay
Bus drivers at Stagecoach in Chesterfield are set to strike in a dispute with bosses over pay.
Trade union Unite is warning of ‘severe disruption’ to passengers after announcing the industrial action.
More than 50 bus drivers and cleaners based at the Stonegravels depot will take 13 days of strike action between October 18 and December 14.
An all-out strike is also planned over Christmas and New Year – from December 20 to January 8.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Low pay is the scourge of the bus industry right across this country.
"Stagecoach made profits touching £60m last year and has £875m in the bank.
"Yet it cannot make a decent inflation-busting offer to its staff.
“Unite will be relentless in its campaign to ensure that our members at Stagecoach receive a fair pay increase. Stagecoach management leave us with no alternative.”
Stagecoach Yorkshire said there was ‘no reason’ why agreement couldn’t be reached with staff as has happened elsewhere in the country.
Dozens of Stagecoach bus services in Chesterfield have already been cancelled ‘for the foreseeable future’ because of staff shortages.
The strikes were called after members rejected the latest offer by management.
Unite regional officer Scott Lennon said: “Our members have made it clear that they will no longer accept low pay.
"The planned strike action will undoubtedly cause widespread disruption to passengers across Chesterfield but the drivers believe they have no option but to take strike action to secure a decent wage.
“If the local management at Stagecoach wants to avoid these strikes then they should stop posturing, make a realistic pay offer and work with us to repair industrial relations.”
A Stagecoach Yorkshire spokesperson said: “Stagecoach has reached agreements with Unite in many other parts of the country and there is no reason why an agreement cannot be reached here in Chesterfield.
"We are committed to working constructively with Unite to deliver pay proposals that are fair to our people, and which also ensure the long-term sustainability of the bus network for local communities at a time when passenger numbers are significantly below the level needed to cover the costs of running services.
“We already have further talks planned with Unite tomorrow and we remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached with local union representatives.”