Leeds bus workers set for new strike over pay

Striking bus staff on a picket line at Hunslet Park on Monday.
Striking bus staff on a picket line at Hunslet Park on Monday.
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BUS services in Leeds will be hit by strike action again at the start of next week, it has been confirmed.

Around 1,000 bus drivers and other staff at First Leeds’s Bramley and Hunslet Park depots will walk out for 24 hours from 2am on Monday.

The Unite union members staged an initial 24-hour strike on Monday this week in their dispute with the operator 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.

First Leeds managing director Paul Matthews said yesterday: “This is very disappointing news that will create massive inconvenience for our customers as well as hardship for our staff.

“We’ve again presented several ways that the union’s demand could be met to try to end this dispute.”

Mr Matthews added: “I remain determined to bring this dispute to an end with a very fair and reasonable pay offer for our hardworking drivers but not one that will damage the future of the business and bring fare rises for our customers.”

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said the union had attended Thursday’s talks “in good faith” but had been presented with a “pitiful” pay offer. He added: “Concern for the travelling public appears to be the last thing on the management’s mind.”

Monday’s strike will only affect First’s services in Leeds, with its buses due to operate as normal in Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax.

Services set to run to a revised timetable include the number 1 (Beeston-Leeds-Holt Park), 4 (Pudsey-Leeds) and 16 (Leeds-Seacroft).

For full details of First’s plans for Monday, visit www.firstgroup.com/leeds.