Sunderland Bus Strikes To Continue Over Christmas

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Bus drivers in Sunderland are set to continue strikes over the Christmas period after a pay offer was rejected.

Stagecoach North East drivers based in the city will now walk out on December 23, 24, 26 and 27.

The firm has “failed to listen” to its employees and the offer “didn’t match what drivers wanted”, the GMB union said.

But Stagecoach said the offer would make drivers the “highest paid of any” in the region.

It comes after some 200 drivers staged strikes in October and November this year.

Management and workers from elsewhere were drafted in to run key services and they apologised for the disruption.

Stuart Gilhespy, GMB organiser, said the latest offer was still a “real-terms” pay cut amid the cost of living crisis.

He said: “Sunderland’s bus drivers are clear – they are struggling in the cost of living crisis and deserve a decent pay offer from Stagecoach.

“Stagecoach’s latest offer didn’t match what drivers wanted – and Stagecoach knew this. They have failed to listen to their employees needs and instead choose to focus on their own profits.”

Mr Gilhespy added that depot staff across the country “receive double digit pay rises”, and that drivers “deserve the same”.

Stagecoach ‘disappointed’

Stagecoach North East said the Christmas strikes would damage businesses and industrial action would not “deliver a resolution”.

Stagecoach North East managing director Steve Walker said the firm disappointed.

“The festive season is one of the most important periods for so many local businesses and the employees who work for them,” he said.

“Drivers being asked by the union to go on strike will also be left out of pocket. We know many of our drivers in Sunderland want this situation resolved as much as we do.”

He added that the firm will do “everything we can” to minimise disruption and will run as many services as possible.


BBC News


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