South Yorkshire bus drivers set for strike action

A possible strike by bus drivers has divided opinion among Star readers.

Unite is balloting its members at First South Yorkshire over possible industrial action, with voting opening on Wednesday, May 15, and due to run until early June.

First buses.

First buses.

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Should they vote for industrial action, the union said a strike could begin in mid-June. The bus operator’s managing director Garry Birmingham has written to staff, urging them to vote against industrial action.

In the letter, seen by The Star, he says proposals were made to impose a one-year pay freeze on all staff, including managers, after the company’s accounts showed “another significant operating loss.”

The move has got people talking on The Star's Facebook page, with some in support and others against it.

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Jannis Kennedy said: “I feel sorry for some bus drivers, hardly anyone notices or comments when their bus is on time and everything goes well. I wouldn't want to do that job.”

Kevin Trickett posted: “Good, stick up for yourself” and added: “the workers/people doing the real work should get more. Stick together.”

But Paul Holgate said: “How do they think England would have coped with the doctors and nurses going on strike?

“Just because they are told they are possibly going to have a pay freeze. The NHS has had one nearly every year.”

Angela Fowler posted: “It is nurses and support workers what need a pay rise.”

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In the letter, Mr Birmingham claimed the wages and conditions for the firm’s drivers are the best available in South Yorkshire, following increases over a “number of years” despite its “challenging financial position”, and the firm is ‘committed’ to keeping them that way. In a statement, he added that the firm will “keep customers informed” over the situation.

Unite regional officer Phil Brown said: “Workers are not going to allow this company to impose a real terms pay cut on them.”