Union Unite announced yesterday (Wednesday September 13) that 1,300 of its members would go on strike following a vote. Of the 85 percent voter turnout, 98 percent were in favor of industrial action.
Today (Wednesday 14 September) Go North East, the region’s largest bus operator, has proposed ACAS-brokered talks with union Unite to prevent industrial action.
A Go North East spokesman said: “The company has made an exceptional offer to hundreds of its drivers to increase salaries by £2,400 a year. If the proposal is approved, payments will be postponed retroactively to July 1.”
“The company’s bosses have agreed to stick with an inflation-busting pay proposal despite recording losses of £4.3 million in the latest published accounts.”
“If the proposal – which also includes some standardization of working practices across the six depots – is accepted, drivers will also be guaranteed a further inflation-linked pay rise next year.”
“The Unite union has so far refused to accept the offer.”
However, Unite said workers are taking the action after being offered a “ridiculous” and “below inflation” pay deal, including cuts to working conditions.
The union also noted that administrative and office staff have not received a salary offer.
Depots that could be affected by industrial action include Consett, Gateshead, Hexham, Percy Main (North Shields), Sunderland and Washington.
Ben Maxfield, business director at Go North East, said: “The two most talked about inflation measures, CPI and RPI, are currently at 6.4% and 9.0% respectively. Our 9.11% offer beats both figures and means our driver compensation package is one of the best in the region.
“Unite claims – without attempting to provide justification – that drivers have been offered a pay rise below the rate of inflation. The bottom line is that this is simply not true, meaning Unite would be striking for something they have already been offered.
“It is neither in our interest nor in the interest of our passengers to carry out a strike. Regrettably, some elements within Unite appear determined to pursue this approach, but we believe that most of our drivers will want the ACAS negotiations to be successful.
“Of course we place great value on our drivers and want to do the best for them. We never take them for granted and will enter into discussions with that in mind – if Unite accepts them.”
https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23788392.go-north-east-proposes-talks-drivers-threaten-strike/?ref=rss Go North East proposes talks after motorists threaten strike