Huge disruption likely as Leeds bus drivers stage pay strike next Monday

bus users across Leeds are being warned there could be 'huge' disruption to the city's bus network after First Leeds staff announced they will go on strike.
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Bus drivers and customer hosts at the Hunslet Park and Bramley depots will hold a day of strike action next Monday in a dispute over pay.

The strike by Unite members is expected to affect people who travel on the 65 bus routes across Leeds.

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First Leeds said in a statement that the company had been in discussions with Unite for several months over the pay review anniversary on May 1.

The company employs 1,028 bus drivers and hosts based at the two Leeds depots.

The bus company will meet with Unite and the conciliatory service ACAS tomorrow in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

It said an above-inflation two-year offer, averaging four per cent, had been rejected by Unite.

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Paul Matthews, managing director for First Leeds, said: “I’m very disappointed Unite are going ahead with strike action despite our planned meeting on Wednesday involving Acas.

“We have made a reasonable, above-inflation offer. I call on Unite to call off this unnecessary strike and join us in meaningful talks with Acas to avoid causing hardship for our customers.”

Unite regional officer Phil Bown said: “It’s deeply disappointing that for four weeks the company has refused to engage in talks and only now agreed to meet at Acas.

“Our intention is not to disrupt the travel plans of the people of Leeds next Monday, but negotiate a deal which recognises the role our members play in keeping Leeds on the move.

“We will be entering Wednesday’s talks in a positive manner and trust the First Leeds will do the same.”

Bus services from the Bradford, Calderdale and Huddersfield depots will be unaffected.