Defiant Stagecoach bus drivers in Hull will strike 'as long as it takes' as they walk out over pay dispute
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham, who visited the union’s picket line in Hull today, said Stagecoach’s offer of a 12.2 per cent by December was an attack on its workers.
Stagecoach East Midlands Manager Matt Cranwell said they had done everything to try and avert the strike while the company accused workers of holding the city to ransom.
It comes as workers voted 96 per cent to walk out after Stagecoach refused to agree to wage hikes to £13-an-hour.
Unite has said that rate would mean drivers would still be paid less than those working for Stagecoach in Merseyside.
But the company claims its offer of 14.5 per cent hikes over two years would make Hull drivers the highest paid in the region.
The strike begins on the first day of Hull Fair and could last until after Christmas if the union and company fail to reach a deal.
A bus driver at the Unite demonstration outside a lively picket line at Hull Paragon Interchange said they would strike until they were offered a deal they could take.
The worker, who asked not to be named, said: “I started driving for Stagecoach in April, it’s been hard working for them.
“It feels like we’re not listened to, Stagecoach doesn’t care about us, it doesn’t care about its workers.
“We’re prepared to be on strike for as long as it takes for them to give us a deal we can accept.
“I think they will, someone at the company told me recently there’s no money in the pot but none of us believe that, we know the money’s there.”
Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham, who visited the picket line in Hull today, said the union would not accept companies telling their workers to swallow real terms pay cuts while they made huge profits.
The general secretary said: “Our members in Hull are fighting for their families, they’ve had their pay frozen for three years.
“Stagecoach’s current offer fails to give their workers a decent piece of the pie.
“This is an attack on our members’ pay and Unite will support our members every step of the way.
“Stagecoach can afford to pay, it must put forward an offer our members can accept.”
Matt Cranwell, managing director of Stagecoach East Midlands, said: “We have done absolutely everything we can to try and agree a pay deal to avoid people in Hull being inconvenienced by this unnecessary strike action.
“There is no doubt though that this will cause disruption for our local community in Hull and at the same time, the continued strike action planned by Unite will hit the pockets of our employees at a time when every penny counts.
“It’s very clear that Unite is deliberately targeting passengers during an event that is really important for Hull, and that the city rightly has a great deal of pride over. It is now hard to see a way forward with Unite refusing to enter any further talks.”