Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire bus drivers to strike in row over pay

First Bus halted at a bus stop Image copyright Geograph/Richard Vince
Image caption Bus services in Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham are expected to be affected by the planned walk out

Up to 900 bus drivers in South Yorkshire are to strike on two separate days in a dispute over pay.

Unite union announced its members would walk out for 24 hours on 29 June and on 1 July because of an "insulting offer of a one-year pay freeze".

It expects services in Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham to be affected.

Employer First South Yorkshire Ltd said it was "disappointed" and that an increase in drivers wages could result in higher bus fares for customers.

About 70% of workers voted for the industrial action, the union said.

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said its members were "not going to put up with the insulting offer of a one-year pay freeze for the year starting May 2019, especially as the parent company First Group is highly profitable".

"If First Group is serious about preventing industrial action, which will unfortunately lead to severe disruption for the travelling public, it urgently needs to hold constructive pay talks."

Image copyright First Bus
Image caption Bus drivers in South Yorkshire are "already receiving the best offer available", First says

Garry Birmingham, managing director of First South Yorkshire, said the company had engaged in discussion with the union and was "extremely disappointed". It urged Unite to reconsider taking action.

"Any strike action would cause significant disruption for our customers and only place the business in an even more difficult financial position."

He said employees were "already receiving the best offer available" and it did not want to increase bus fares.

"Our drivers do a great job and the business has agreed a good wage and lucrative terms and conditions over the last few years.

"We have offered to freeze wages and terms and conditions for one year.

"Our weekly bus driver wage is £449, annual salary of £23,358, which is £11.23 an hour and in addition they receive six weeks holiday and bank holidays."

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