Bus strikes cancelled across Preston and Chorley after Stagecoach drivers accept new pay deal

A long-running pay dispute between bus drivers and their company has finally been resolved.

Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 2:49 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th July 2019, 3:49 pm
Bus drivers on strike in Chorley (Photo: JPIMedia)

Some 300 Stagecoach bus drivers in Preston and Chorley have cancelled a series of fresh strike days after their long-running pay dispute with the company was resolved.

The drivers, belonging to the Unite union, had been fighting for a 50p pay rise to £11 an hour.

It resulted in strike action across May and June, with more dates planned for July.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Strikers with UNITE Branch Secretary Peter Winstanley (left holding placard) and Chairman Gary Campion (right with placard) (Photo: JPIMedia)

But last week strike dates were postponed after an "improved offer" than the one presented to drivers was brought to the negotiation table.

All dates have now been cancelled after the new pay offer was "overwhelmingly accepted" by members in a secret ballot.

In July, drivers had planned to walk out on July 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 19, 20, 22, 23, 25, and 27.

John Boughton, regional industrial organiser at Unite the Union, said: “The ballot was overwhelmingly accepted by our members and that concludes this round of strikes.

Bus drivers on strike in Chorley (Photo: JPIMedia)

"There's no other strike action, drivers are back to work."

The ballot took place last Wednesday and Thursday (July 3 and 4) to give as many members the opportunity to vote.

And while Mr Boughton did not reveal details of the deal, he said: "It's suffice to say it was a compromise but our members were satisfied. It's a longer deal."

The new pay deal will last for 29 months and have three pay increments over the period.

On Thursday, June 27 Preston Council overwhelming passed an emergency notice of motion issued by Couns Matthew Brown, Lynne Brooks, Pav Akhtar, Martyn Rawlinson and Jono Grisdale supporting the “fair pay demands” issued by the bus drivers.

Rob Jones, managing director at Stagecoach Merseyside Cheshire and South Lancashire, said: "We’ve very pleased to have reached this agreement which will enable us to ­­get back to operating a full service each day; getting our passengers where they need to be, and connecting our communities."