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Posted on 3 March 2012 at 10:41 GMT

Stagecoach bus drivers win victory

Stagecoach South Yorkshire bus drivers in Barnsley and Rotherham have won a significant victory in their fight for higher pay.

After a bitter four month dispute in which over 300 drivers, members of Unite the union, took 12 days of strike action, Stagecoach were forced to accede to most of their demands.

By 251 votes to 35, drivers voted to accept an increase in their hourly rate to 9.05 an hour, with no strings attached and a lump-sum payment in lieu of back-pay from the annual settlement date of April.

Drivers were on 8.57 an hour and had a 2% rise imposed in November, taking them to 8.74. In effect, they have won a 5.6% pay rise.

This is a significant victory against a company who brought in managers from around the country to run a strike-breaking operation on every strike day.

Whilst this meant that up to 80% of services ran, it was at considerable expense as not only wages but bonuses and hotel accommodation were paid to the scabs, and fares were slashed to 1 to try to keep passengers.

Because of the determination of the drivers (there were only a handful of local drivers who scabbed and it's reported that even some of them joined the last days of strike action) and the solidarity from other bus workers and trade unionists, Stagecoach could not afford to keep the strike-breaking operation up. So the bosses were forced to drop the strings and offer a lump sum in back-pay.

Alistair Tice

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