Warning over bus strike

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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 on Monday.

Bus drivers and customer hosts at the Hunslet Park and Bramley depots will hold a day of strike action on Monday, June 13, in a dispute over pay.

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

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 representatives and the conciliatory service ACAS on Wednesday, June 8, in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

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 very reasonable, above-inflation offer and I call on Unite to call off this unnecessary strike and join us in meaningful talks with ACAS to avoid causing such hardship for our customers.”

The company said an above-inflation two-year offer averaging four per cent, with some grades receiving up to five per cent, had been rejected by Unite representatives.

It said the best paid drivers were on £11.86, with starters beginning on £9.86, compared to the National Living Wage of £7.20 and the voluntary figure set by the Living Wage Foundation of £8.25.

First Leeds is reviewing contingency plans in the event that strike action cannot be avoided and will be providing more information ahead of June 13. Bus services from the Bradford, Calderdale and Huddersfield depots will be unaffected.

No one was available to comment from Unite.