Leeds bus strikes: Strikes to begin on Sunday as drivers in Unite union reject pay deal

First Bus has confirmed that a pay offer to Unite members at its Leeds depots has been rejected and industrial action planned from Sunday June 18 will go ahead.

First Bus drivers of the West Yorkshire branch have announced that they will take regular industrial action over the company’s denial of returning the date of new pay rises from October back to April.

The drivers who are members of Unite, a campaigning union that fights for employees in the workplace, agreed during the pandemic to change their anniversary pay date to October to help the company financially.

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According to Unite, this move means that workers have been left struggling during the cost of living crisis and will not receive a pay increase until October at the earliest.

Leeds bus strikes: Strikes to begin on Sunday as drivers in Unite union reject pay dealLeeds bus strikes: Strikes to begin on Sunday as drivers in Unite union reject pay deal
Leeds bus strikes: Strikes to begin on Sunday as drivers in Unite union reject pay deal

Strikes were planned to start on Sunday and have now been confirmed to The Yorkshire Post by a spokesperson for First Bus.

Andrew Cullen, Managing Director of First North & West Yorkshire, said: “We are very disappointed and dismayed at the decision to continue with strike action in Leeds.

“The generous pay offer we made to the union of a 12 per cent increase between now and April next year is well above inflation and would have helped our drivers to manage the cost of living as quickly as possible.

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“Part of this pay increase would have been implemented now with further rises in October and again in April 2024.

“The current agreement on pay, which was signed by Unite and its officials, is in place and agreed until October 2023. The anniversary date was changed during Covid in order to safeguard jobs and to enable us to offer an enhanced sick pay scheme during the pandemic.

“As part of our discussions, we listened to Unite’s request to return the anniversary date to April and as part of the offer we agreed to do this and therefore the next pay review date would be April 2025.

“Industrial action will be damaging to everyone and cause severe disruption to the daily lives of our customers who rely on the bus to get to work, education and for appointments.

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“We are making plans to determine the extent of bus services we will be able to operate from Sunday 18 June and further information will be published on our website later today (Friday 16 June).

“Industrial action is not the way forward to find a settlement.”

First Bus has released a list of every affected service.

A further update is expected later on Friday.

The list is as follows:

Services affected: 1, 1B, N1, 2, 3. 3A, 4, 4F, 5, 5A, 6, 8, 7, 7A, 7S, 9A, 11A, 12, 13, 13A, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 19, 19A, 27, 28, 33, 34, 38, 39, 40, 42, 46, 47, 47A, 49, 50, 50A, 51, 52, 55, 55C, 56, 62, 64, 65, 74, 75, 86, 91, PR1, PR2, PR3, X84 and Flexi Bus

All other bus operator’s services will operate as normal in Leeds including:

A&A Coach Travel 30

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Arriva Yorkshire 21, 22, 110, 118, 140, 140A, 141, 163, 164, 168, 174, 175, 200, 201, 202, 203, 229, 254, 255,425, 444, 446

Connexions Buses 11, 64, 781, 940, 963

First (Bradford) 72, X6, X11

First (Calderdale) 508

Flyer A1, A2 & A3

Harrogate Bus Company 7, 36, X98 & X99

Keighley Bus Company 60, 940

Station Coaches 116, 213

Square Peg 9, 31, 31, 32, 80, 81, 966

TLC Travel 205, 653

Yorkshire Coastliner 840, 843

York Pullman

Dales Bus

Yorkshire Buses 9, 29, 29A, 61, 61A