Bus strike chaos in Leeds today - and there’s more disruption to come this week

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Bus users have been warned they face continued disruption to services after the end of today’s 24-hour strike by drivers and other staff at operator First Leeds.

The firm has imposed a ban on voluntary overtime this week for workers who are taking part in the walkout, which got under way at 2am.

DEFIANT: Workers on the picket line last week.

DEFIANT: Workers on the picket line last week.

First says the full impact of the ban remains to be seen but admits it could lead to “isolated service cancellations”.

The operator says it believes it would have been “unreasonable” for staff involved in today’s strike to recover lost earnings through overtime shifts.

The Unite union has accused First of playing “hard ball” with a measure it says will “cause more disruption to the travelling public in Leeds”.

Around 1,000 bus drivers and other staff at First’s Bramley and Hunslet Park depots were expected to go on strike today. The Unite members staged an initial 24-hour strike last Monday in their dispute with the company over pay.

It saw buses on more than 40 routes in Leeds grinding to a complete halt, although First managed to run a reduced timetable on some key travel corridors. Talks involving conciliation service Acas were held on Thursday in what proved to be an unsuccessful attempt to avert a second strike.

Some buses are due to operate as normal today, including Elland Road park and ride services and the X6 Bradford to Leeds Express.

Services that should be running to a reduced timetable include the 1 (Beeston-Leeds-Holt Park), 4 (Pudsey-Leeds) and 16 (Leeds-Seacroft).

First’s services in Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax are unaffected by the strike action.

The firm is maintaining that it has made its workers a “fair and reasonable” pay offer. Unite said it was presented with a “pitiful” offer at Thursday’s talks.

Faye Burdett before (left) and after she contracted meningitis. Picture: Meningitis Now/PA Wire

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