First Manchester bus drivers announce more strikes in pay dispute

BUS drivers employed by First Manchester have announced fresh strike action in January and February in the dispute over pay.

The days planned for industrial action are January 20, 24 and 26 and February 1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 15, 17, 18, 21, 23 and 25. There have already been three days of strike action in January (10, 11 and 18).

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Bus drivers, including those at First Manchester, are no longer prepared to accept low rates of pay, for the difficult and stressful work they undertake.

“Unite now does exactly what it says on the trade union tin: it always fights to defend our members’ jobs, pay and conditions.

“The union will be providing its full support to our members at First Manchester until this dispute is resolved.”

The drivers’ basic wage is £12.40 an hour. Unite says a major sticking point in the dispute is First Manchester’s refusal to honour the anniversary date of 1 August (when the pay increase for 2021 was due to come into effect) and to backdate the pay increase from this date.

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “Strike action has already caused considerable disruption for bus passengers throughout Greater Manchester.

“This was directly a result of First Manchester’s refusal to make an offer which meets our members’ expectations.

“Further strikes can be avoided but it requires the company to put forward an improved offer and to return to the negotiating table.”

The company’s depot is in Oldham but it operates services across Greater Manchester.

Ian Humphreys, Managing Director of First Manchester, said: “Despite further talks and the efforts we have already made to meet what we were told were agreed demands, union officials have informed us the strikes will go ahead.

“The company has offered a substantial increase to £13 per hour, along with a lump sum payment.

“We have also offered to equalise the rate for school bus drivers with that for service bus drivers which would mean an even greater increase for this group of colleagues.

“I would like to apologise sincerely to all our customers in advance for the disruption and inconvenience this action will cause but want them to be aware of the situation so they can make plans for journeys they have to make on these days.

“Industrial action has huge impact on the community and damages confidence in using the bus, so I urge union representatives to reconsider their action and continue talking with us to resolve this dispute.”

4 Replies to “First Manchester bus drivers announce more strikes in pay dispute”

  1. Ask Mr Humphrey’s about the things he want to reduce if they accept the £13 ph
    Absolutely disgusting how he doesn’t mention the reduction on shift patterns either

    1. I worked for first, the hours you have to do isn’t worth £13 per hour. 2 early starts (6am), 2 late finish 12pm and the one split shift 7am-10am and then 3pm-7pm, only one weeknd off a month. There is no consistency in what shifts days they do these shifts. A driver has to take their holidays when the company tells them. Finally, to top it off if you need someone on the radio you can be finishing your shift before they get back to you. That’s before you mention the sheds they make you drive, and the schedules that are almost impossible to stick too.

  2. Any one would think they was on minimum wage really way these drivers go on with them selves ..£13 quid a hour for a stressful work they undertake according to Sharon .. what’s so stressful of driving a bus on time , maybe it’s the stress that you first company have caused to your loyal drivers that have stayed and hence why many of the drivers have moved on and got another driving job else where maybe that’s where the stress and pressure comes into it on the ones are still work for first have ended up with the work load and longer hours to compensate the drivers are not been and never be replaced .. you don’t like job just leave .. and if first can’t cope just sell your contract services to Stagecoach and stop havin us all suffering.. simples!!!

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