Strike at Leeds-based bus maker

From a Unite press release, 27 May 2014

  • Rock solid support for Tuesday’s 24-hour walkout.
  • Workers vow to strike again on Monday 2 June.

Members of Unite, involved in the design, manufacture and sale of single and double decker buses for global giant Optare, started a 24-hour stoppage at 06.00 on Tuesday outside the Optare site in Sherburn, near Leeds. The dispute is over the company’s two-week summer shutdown proposals, which will see workers forced to take their annual leave in the middle of August when the average price of a family holiday can be up to 92% higher.

The union warns that the first of two planned 24-hour stoppages and an overtime ban from Friday 23 May has already hit production with the company losing a minimum of two buses a day as it struggles to fill orders. In a further blow to the company, drivers delivering to the site yesterday refused to cross the picket line in solidarity with striking workers.

The 170 strong workforce voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action (81%) following Optare’s refusal to work with the union to find a satisfactory resolution to the dispute. Unite offered a number of compromises including support for a shorter period of shutdown – one week as opposed to two – which the company refused.