‘Outraged’ South Yorkshire bus drivers in strike threat
07:00 Friday 20 March 2015 Alex Evans
Outraged bus drivers in South Yorkshire could be set to strike after a breakdown in pay negotiations with First Bus.
Drivers are locked in a pay dispute with First Bus and union members are being balloted for potential strike action.
The firm is said to have offered drivers in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster a pay freeze followed by a one per cent increase in 2016 – which has been rejected.
The feeling is running very, very high. The drivers feel they have worked diligently to make the company perform well, and they are being thanked with an offer that is one per cent over two years, which will in no way match inflation.
“There are many people in South Yorkshire who feel they need a pay rise. The First Bus drivers are no different.
“There is outrage and the feeling is that members are not going to accept zero per cent this year.”
He said drivers did not want disruption for customers, adding: “The drivers want to see First Bus a well used and well run company with a well liked bus service.
“But they do feel they need to share their reward for turning the business around from the previous state it was in during the recession.”
A First spokesman said: “First and our driver employee trade union representatives, Unite, remain in pay talks with the current pay-deal ending on 31 March this year.
“Whilst we must take into account rising costs and very low inflation, we are confident we can reach an agreement and avoid any unnecessary industrial action.
“We’ll keep talking to Unite to put in place a realistic solution so that we can continue attracting customers onto First buses with a sustainable business position.”