Today’s announcement that two more bus strikes are planned for Leeds has sparked debate among readers.
People have taken to our website, as well as Facebook and Twitter to react to news that members of the Unite union working at operator First are set to walk out for 24 hours from 2am this Friday, July 8.
Read more: Two more bus strikes called in Leeds
On Facebook, Diane Barnfather Booth wrote: “Another day of chaos for the people of Leeds especially for us that have jobs & are very grateful to have one!!!!!! Utter joke, only nobody’s laughing!!!!!!!”
Claire Buxton wrote: “I think most people know bus drivers have a difficult job at times, but we aslso think they knew what they were getting in to when they took the job. People are angry and rightly so, because they are being prevented from earning their living or made to pay money that was perhaps intended for minor things like food or rent/mortgage payments! If they don’t like their pay package, which is quite decent frankly, they should find work elsewhere instead of holding the public to ransom.”
Dawn Linley wrote: “M son was late for school last time I the bus that was scheduled didn’t turn up so I ended up pay pay a taxi! My daughter made it to her last gcse exam jus a it started! I’m not a ha customer at all.”
Julie Smirnoff Blewett disagreed, posting: “Good on ya lads and lasses fight it to the bitter end!” And Johnny Harmer said: “Good on em.”
Daniel Wilson commented: “At least I will be able to walk through town, without getting a lung full of black exhaust fumes!”
On our website, thecolourwhite commented: “Public sympathy for these drivers wore thin a long time ago and they are not helping their cause.”
Anita Booth wrote: “The drivers union say say they want a fair wage. They are paid higher (between £9.80 and £11.50 from my research) than most unksilled work in this area. They are unlikely to find another job which is not bus driving that pays what they earn currently. They say other local bus companies pay more, so why dont they go and work for them then if First are so bad? I do also admire the drivers for taking strike action repeatedly and not giving up for their cause, regardless of whether I agree with it or not.
First have offered various pay rise options, but each of them have been turned down by the drivers union. Having obtained the offer details in my research, the combined amount the drivers have and are going to lose with striking exceeds the amount of the dispute. It seems this is now a matter of principle, and to cost their employer in lost revenue and fines. The flip side is that the drivers union are putting themselves at a financial detriment.
Some drivers including some from their union choose to work during the strikes. I’m sure they have good reason to even if they agree with the strikes or not. It would be good to hear their perspective on the situation.
The Passengers are the ones who really suffer, especially the disabled, elderly, and isolated, to whom the buses are essential. Then there are commuters trying to get to work, people trying to get to hospital, people trying to get to the airport, train and coach stations.
So what is the solution? Can First (with their £millions of profits) afford the rise the drivers union want? If so, why are they not paying them that? Will the drivers continue to strike? Is there any other action they can take other than striking?
Either way, both sides need to consider their passengers and put them first.”
Croggy replied: “In your first paragraph you imply that bus driving is not a skilled job, let me assure you a test needs to have been completed before a driver can drive the vehicle, the driver also has to undergo continuous training to ensure their eligibility to drive.
“It is this type of attitude that led to the traveling public refer to bus drivers as monkeys...thing of the duties of the bus driver, carrying (safely) up to 500 passengers per shift, also a customer service agent to those five hundred members of the public.
“As for the other persons comment “ungrateful workers” go and see the depots at 0330 in a morning or even better after midnight when you lot have thrown up over the vehicle, left your rubbish (sometimes they are still asleep on the back seat) strew about.”
Stuz Priestley wrote: “far from being unskilled A Bus driver has to go rigorous on the job training. they have the lives of many people in their hands, both inside and outside the vehicle they maybe driving. They mostly have to memorize all the possible routes they may have to drive as in the case of Leeds approx 30 or so, as well as Fares where the various fare stages are. it was and still is a thankless task... As an ex- Coach and Bus driver I can you they can carry up to 105 people (bendy bus) weighing well in excess of 30 tons to categorize this work as unskilled is somewhat misleading to the general public....”