Leeds festive bus strike 'highly likely' amid pay dispute

A bus strike over the upcoming festive period has been described as 'highly likely' by union leaders as a result of unsatisfactory pay.

By Alex Grant
Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 4:45 pm

The pay dispute at First Leeds could lead to major disruption to bus services across the city, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today.

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Some 900 First Leeds drivers are being balloted for strike action over an unsatisfactory one per cent pay offer.

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Union heads have warned that a Leeds bus strike over the upcoming festive period is 'highly likely'. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

Darren Rushworth, Unite's regional officer, said: “The company’s current offer has been overwhelmingly rejected by the workforce. This makes the chances of the strike ballot passing, which would result in major disruption to bus services, highly likely.

“Our members performed a vital role during the pandemic and have stepped up in recent weeks to cover the extra work created by the driver shortages. The least they deserve is a pay rise that reflects the rising cost of living.”

The ballot for strike action opened last week and closes on November 18. If successful, then strikes could begin in early December with Unite general secretary Sharon Graham explaining: "A pay rise that is four per cent below the current RPI is a not pay rise at all. In fact, it is a pay cut. How can that be acceptable to our members at First Leeds?

“The company should be in no doubt that if our members vote for strike action, Unite will throw its full weight behind their campaign to get a wage increase that reflects their hard work and dedication to the job.”

When reached for comment a spokesperson for First Bus Leeds stated: “We remain committed to constructive talks with union representatives to find an agreement and avert any potential for industrial action.”

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