Bus drivers in pay fight stage strike

BUS drivers in South Yorkshire are striking today after turning down a 5.5 per cent pay increase from operator Stagecoach.

Drivers in Barnsley, Rotherham and the Dearne Valley voted against a new offer of £9.05 an hour and are now walking out again after previous strikes in November and December last year.

Managing director of Stagecoach Yorkshire Paul Lynch said: “We are extremely disappointed by this outcome, particularly as the offer of £9.05 was what the union asked for.

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“After many months of negotiation, and several other pay offers, in a challenging economic climate, it is very frustrating we have not been able to reach an agreement.”

The bus operator said it hoped to operate a “near-normal” level of service today despite the walkout, as more than 100 managers and supervisors from across the country will be driving. A flat adult fare of £1 will also apply.

Stagecoach services in Sheffield and Chesterfield are unaffected.

Mr Lynch added: “Against an economic backdrop where millions of others are seeing their pay frozen or reduced, we are very disappointed that the drivers have chosen to take strike action which will only hit the pockets of the employees involved.”

The Unite union has previously said that its Stagecoach bus drivers felt like the “poor relations” in South Yorkshire, and drivers want parity with other bus operators.