Leeds bus strike boost for passengers

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THE BUS strike planned for Leeds on Monday is off, union leaders have confirmed.

Around 1,000 drivers and other staff at the First operator’s Bramley and Hunslet Park depots were due to stage a walkout over pay from 4am to 10am.

But yesterday the Unite union said it had called off the strike as a gesture of “good faith” as it attempts to set up fresh peace talks with bosses at First.

Unite regional officer Phil Bown told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We want to try to resolve this dispute rather than see the travelling public facing further inconvenience.”

First Leeds managing director Paul Matthews said: “We look forward to further talks with Unite to reach a pay settlement for our drivers that is both affordable and recognises the hard work they do.

“We hope Unite will join us in meaningful discussion and give drivers the chance to have their say on our very reasonable and above inflation offer.”

Confirmation that Monday’s strike was off came during a 24-hour stoppage that ended at 2am today.

First, the biggest bus company in Leeds, said it managed to run around a quarter of its usual timetable yesterday. The firm also said it had more than 25 per cent of its normal driver numbers in work.

Mr Bown disputed the staffing figure and said support for the strike among the union’s members remained “solid”.

Speaking earlier this week, he accused First of asking his members to accept an “insulting” pay offer.

Yesterday’s walkout came on the back of two 24-hour strikes last month.

Services that ran as normal included Elland Road park-and-ride buses as well as the 508 (Halifax-Leeds), 670 (Bradford-Leeds), X6 (Bradford-Leeds Express) and X11 (Bradford-Pudsey-Leeds).

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