Last gasp pay offer fails to avert Leeds bus strike

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Monday’s planned bus strike in Leeds will go ahead after a new pay offer was rejected.

A new pay offer negotiated between First Leeds and Unite with the assistance of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), has been rejected at a union branch meeting meaning strike action will hit tens of thousands of people in Leeds on Monday.

The offer made on Wednesday 8 June was reached following 4 hours of constructive talks between representatives of First Leeds, Unite and ACAS, would have delivered a pay increase of over 3% in a 1-year deal.

The new offer was rejected at a union branch meeting on Thursday evening in Leeds.

Paul Matthews, managing director of First Leeds, said, “I’m very disappointed that the new pay offer negotiated with Unite has been rejected without the chance for all our staff to vote on the 1-year deal that would have provided a pay increase for our drivers of over 3%.

“The decision means Unite will continue with their strike action on Monday despite less than half of our drivers voting for industrial action. The strike will cause massive disruption to tens of thousands of people across Leeds including workers and those in education taking exams”

“We remain absolutely committed to resolving this dispute. We will do all we can to avoid further industrial action whilst ensuring our hard working drivers benefit from an above-inflation, yet affordable, pay increase”

The pay dispute only affects First Leeds and First bus services in Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax are unaffected

Information on services that will be provided on Monday will be updated via www.firstgroup.com/leeds and @firstwestyorks

YOUR SAY: Disruption warning ahead of bus strike in Leeds

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “First Bus makes massive profits from the travelling public in Leeds and the hard work of our members who keep the city on move day in, day out.

“Strike action is very much the last resort, but faced with management’s refusal to improve on its pitiful pay offer and negotiate meaningfully at Acas, our members feel forced into taking this action.

“All our members are looking for is fair treatment and recognition for their hard work. We would urge First Bus management to drop its hard line attitude which risks causing disruption for the travelling public and enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.”