Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire bus strike shelved for Armed Forces Day

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 strike action

A bus strike has been called off to avoid it disrupting Armed Forces Day events, a trade union has said.

Up to 900 bus drivers working for First Bus in South Yorkshire were due take industrial action on Saturday in a dispute over pay.

The Unite union said it had postponed the walkout "as a mark of respect for veterans".

First Bus said it welcomed the move as the firm was offering free travel to veterans attending events.

The planned stoppage was the first of two 24-hour strikes called by Unite after 70% of those polled voted in favour of industrial action.

The dispute began after First Bus South Yorkshire proposed a one-year pay freeze, described by the union as "insulting".

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said Saturday's action was called off after the union recognised it would "cause severe inconvenience to veterans wishing to attend events across South Yorkshire".

"Our dispute is with First South Yorkshire and not with current and past members of the armed forces who have bravely served their country," he said.

Mr Bown confirmed a second strike planned for the 1 July would go ahead.

The industrial action is expected to affect services in Doncaster, Sheffield and Rotherham.

Garry Birmingham, managing director for First South Yorkshire, said he was pleased the industrial action had been cancelled.

"Supporting Armed Forces Day is of importance to our business as a significant number of our staff, including drivers, are ex-members of the armed forces," he said.

Mr Birmingham said the company was meeting Unite on Wednesday for discussions about the dispute.

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