Bus drivers drafted in to break strike

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BUS operator Stagecoach has reassured passengers that daytime services will be running nearly as normal during planned industrial action in South Yorkshire over the next fortnight.

The company has drafted in more than 100 relief drivers to run routes in Barnsley, Rotherham and the Dearne Valley, despite strike action by the Unite union on Monday next week and December 2-3.

Stagecoach also confirmed that services in Sheffield will be unaffected and all school buses will run as normal during the action.

Managers said a near-normal level of service is planned between 7am and 6pm on the affected dates, with a special £1 flat single fare for adults in operation. Megarider tickets, child and pensioners’ free passes will be accepted as normal.

All buses in Chesterfield, including route 265 to Barnsley, and all those operated by Stagecoach East Midlands in south Rotherham and Doncaster are unaffected.

Nearly all Unite members at the Barnsley and Rawmarsh depots have taken action over a pay dispute. Phil Brown, regional officer for Unite, said there had been a “strong” response. He added: “We are available to talk, but at the moment, Monday’s strike is going ahead.”

Stagecoach managing director Paul Lynch said: “We will be working extremely hard to ensure that the majority of passengers are not affected by the strike action and have put together a robust contingency timetable.”