Stagecoach staff to strike for 12 days over 'divide-and-rule' pay tactics

44 Replies, 5639 Views

(25 Oct 2021, 1:18 pm)Chris 1 Wrote: Some of the comments on there, dear me!  Not sure which ones are worse, these ones are the ones accompanying the Northern Echo story on GNE.
Glass houses and throwing stones..
(30 Oct 2021, 2:55 pm)Adrian Wrote: "Drivers offered a deal that would see pay being increased by 4% since the start of the pandemic"
So I wonder is that 4% over a two-year deal backdated? Or 4% for this year, when I assume nothing was offered last?

Bit cheap to point at GMB accepting the deal. It's as much their prerogative to accept one as Unite's not to accept one.

Didn't Stagecoach still get a 2% wage increase this year or last, sure someone said that.

So would suggest it's just a 2% rise. The 4% 'since the start of the pandemic' is very odd wording otherwise.
(30 Oct 2021, 2:55 pm)Adrian Wrote: "Drivers offered a deal that would see pay being increased by 4% since the start of the pandemic"
So I wonder is that 4% over a two-year deal backdated? Or 4% for this year, when I assume nothing was offered last?

Bit cheap to point at GMB accepting the deal. It's as much their prerogative to accept one as Unite's not to accept one.

It's the usual PR rubbish from both sides. Similar to Unite not quoting the actual financials from Busways Travel Services as it won't sound as good but it more pertinent...
(30 Oct 2021, 2:55 pm)Adrian Wrote: "Drivers offered a deal that would see pay being increased by 4% since the start of the pandemic"
So I wonder is that 4% over a two-year deal backdated? Or 4% for this year, when I assume nothing was offered last?

Bit cheap to point at GMB accepting the deal. It's as much their prerogative to accept one as Unite's not to accept one.


They got 2% last year (a previous two-year deal), and I believe this is another 2% for this year - so the 4% line isn’t inaccurate but slightly misleading and clearly quoted for effect.

That said, the offer is probably the best out of the three (believe neither Arriva nor Go North East received payrises last year and the latter are at a 3.5% offer currently).

When it’s quite clear that all three operators are loss-making currently, my personal view is that the current offers on the table at all three operators are acceptable and should be taken on a six-month basis (rather than a year), then further talks continue at that point when certainty of revenue in the wider context of a BSIP is more guaranteed.

It does seem like Unite’s ambition is to have Arriva Northumbria, Go North East and Stagecoach all participating in industrial action at the same time. I’m in favour of trade unions fighting for better pay and conditions for their members (and in turn the wider workforce) but I’m not sure it sits right with me that industrial action is seemingly being coordinated and there’s a dispute over money that the companies simply do not have at this time.


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I was in the Unite union and I've recently left after 20 years in it. Complete waste of money. The main rep gets a piss easy ride in return for towing the company line. Gets paid 41 hous a week for 15 hours of actual work, paid until 4pm and leaves for home at 3pm every day.
(30 Oct 2021, 9:11 pm)Dan Wrote: It does seem like Unite’s ambition is to have Arriva Northumbria, Go North East and Stagecoach all participating in industrial action at the same time. I’m in favour of trade unions fighting for better pay and conditions for their members (and in turn the wider workforce) but I’m not sure it sits right with me that industrial action is seemingly being coordinated and there’s a dispute over money that the companies simply do not have at this time.

It's the most effective way to apply leverage with industrial action, so they'd be mad to not coordinate it. We saw with Arriva two years ago and Go North West more recently, that when its not coordinated, other operators couldn't be quicker to 'help out' with strike-breakers. If any one of the big three went out alone up here, we all know they'd be straight on the phone to the other two to lend a hand and to try and undermine the strike

In regard to companies not having the money. Something has got to give, because we've had over a decade of wage squeeze now, where we've seen wages fail to keep up with inflation and the private sector will continue to plead poverty unless forced into it.

The Govt has quite rightly increased NLW to £9.50 (6.60%) from the new tax year in April, giving it a rate of growth of 31% since 2016.

At what point do you tackle it? The classic line during any industrial action is usually that it'll cost jobs etc, but if its allowed to continue, then in another 10-15 years time, people literally won't be able to afford to work in these jobs anyway. Draw a trend line with the rate of inflation and the decline in wages and that gap keeps getting bigger.



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(31 Oct 2021, 12:10 am)Driver9*** Wrote: I was in the Unite union and I've recently left after 20 years in it. Complete waste of money. The main rep gets a piss easy ride in return for towing the company line. Gets paid 41 hous a week for 15 hours of actual work, paid until 4pm and leaves for home at 3pm every day.

If that's the case, why don't you just change the rep? Its a democracy after all.

I've been a rep for the majority of my working life and have stood election every single year. I'd be more than happy for someone else to take it on, if they fancied a go at it. At least I'd get some of the countless hours of my own time back that the role inevitably spills over into!

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(30 Oct 2021, 6:54 pm)DeltaMan Wrote: It's the usual PR rubbish from both sides. Similar to Unite not quoting the actual financials from Busways Travel Services as it won't sound as good but it more pertinent...
The press release wars are often the worst part of any dispute. I'm interested in these figures though, because I can only see the May 2020 figures on Companies House and they still show a pre-tax profit of £8.5m at a glance.

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(31 Oct 2021, 1:04 am)Adrian Wrote: It's the most effective way to apply leverage with industrial action, so they'd be mad to not coordinate it. We saw with Arriva two years ago and Go North West more recently, that when its not coordinated, other operators couldn't be quicker to 'help out' with strike-breakers. If any one of the big three went out alone up here, we all know they'd be straight on the phone to the other two to lend a hand and to try and undermine the strike

I think the world is in a different place now, especially with the labour shortage - operators cannot cover their own work, let alone the work of other operators.

Regardless, we've discussed elsewhere on the forum that the current driver shortage could have a huge negative impact on the great work that's been achieved by operators in trying to build back passenger numbers and increase revenue. Can't the exact same be said about industrial action?

If it has a negative impact on passenger numbers, and in turn revenue, then the desired payrise is going to be even less likely to be affordable. There seems to be little in the way of joined up thinking, purely looking at the here and now and immediate benefit rather than thinking longer term. Trade unions for many years have recommended offers of 2% and members accepted them - that was when bus operators were in a much stronger position financially. Now passenger numbers have dropped off a cliff and revenue has been severely impacted making operators loss-making businesses, they're wanting to fight for more? As I say, I'm in favour of trade unions fighting for the best they can achieve in normal circumstances, but this reeks. I know industrial action is a last resort, but there's a lot of animosity on the ground among staff at bus companies at the moment, largely driven by the pay dispute. I have known drivers leave and move to independent operators (for less pay) purely because they're sick and tired of it all...
(31 Oct 2021, 7:13 am)Dan Wrote: I think the world is in a different place now, especially with the labour shortage - operators cannot cover their own work, let alone the work of other operators.

Regardless, we've discussed elsewhere on the forum that the current driver shortage could have a huge negative impact on the great work that's been achieved by operators in trying to build back passenger numbers and increase revenue. Can't the exact same be said about industrial action?

If it has a negative impact on passenger numbers, and in turn revenue, then the desired payrise is going to be even less likely to be affordable. There seems to be little in the way of joined up thinking, purely looking at the here and now and immediate benefit rather than thinking longer term. Trade unions for many years have recommended offers of 2% and members accepted them - that was when bus operators were in a much stronger position financially. Now passenger numbers have dropped off a cliff and revenue has been severely impacted making operators loss-making businesses, they're wanting to fight for more? As I say, I'm in favour of trade unions fighting for the best they can achieve in normal circumstances, but this reeks. I know industrial action is a last resort, but there's a lot of animosity on the ground among staff at bus companies at the moment, largely driven by the pay dispute.  I have known drivers leave and move to independent operators (for less pay) purely because they're sick and tired of it all... 

This isn't a new thing though. It's not unique to pay disputes and there are many reasons why drivers leave to go to an independent.

Independents need to get drivers from somewhere (they wouldn't exist otherwise) and if they can offer something that a big operator can't and it ticks the drivers motivating factor, then good luck to them.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
(31 Oct 2021, 1:09 am)Adrian Wrote: If that's the case, why don't you just change the rep? Its a democracy after all.

I've been a rep for the majority of my working life and have stood election every single year. I'd be more than happy for someone else to take it on, if they fancied a go at it. At least I'd get some of the countless hours of my own time back that the role inevitably spills over into!

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There was a person who stood against him for election a few years back. A poll of the drivers seemed to suggest the majority had voted for him yet he lost by a landslide. Read into that what you will.

I've calculated I've given Unite roughly £3500 in fees over the years, in return for them negotiating slightly below inflation rate pay rises year after year.
(31 Oct 2021, 7:13 am)Dan Wrote: I think the world is in a different place now, especially with the labour shortage - operators cannot cover their own work, let alone the work of other operators.

Regardless, we've discussed elsewhere on the forum that the current driver shortage could have a huge negative impact on the great work that's been achieved by operators in trying to build back passenger numbers and increase revenue. Can't the exact same be said about industrial action?

If it has a negative impact on passenger numbers, and in turn revenue, then the desired payrise is going to be even less likely to be affordable. There seems to be little in the way of joined up thinking, purely looking at the here and now and immediate benefit rather than thinking longer term. Trade unions for many years have recommended offers of 2% and members accepted them - that was when bus operators were in a much stronger position financially. Now passenger numbers have dropped off a cliff and revenue has been severely impacted making operators loss-making businesses, they're wanting to fight for more? As I say, I'm in favour of trade unions fighting for the best they can achieve in normal circumstances, but this reeks. I know industrial action is a last resort, but there's a lot of animosity on the ground among staff at bus companies at the moment, largely driven by the pay dispute. I have known drivers leave and move to independent operators (for less pay) purely because they're sick and tired of it all...

Agree that the driver shortage can and is having a huge negative impact on the work that's been done in building back passenger numbers, and I also agree that industrial action creates an air of uncertainty for customers, which isn't good for those you've just encouraged to start using public transport etc. It takes two to tango though. I know that neither the company nor the Union actually want to take industrial action, and agree it's an absolute last resort, but sometimes a necessary resort when there's a complete breakdown of negotiation or relations.  I've been involved in taking members out in dispute in the past and its never been a decision taken lightly, and without consideration of the wider impact and consequences.

I can't really comment on the offers as I've never seen them in the finer details. In my experience though, often the headline figure does not tell the full story, as employers (and Unions for that matter) like to add conditions onto an offer. Whether that be changes to working practices to the detriment or benefit, changes to working hours, changes to performance and progression systems and so on. I would however reiterate the point that we've had over a decade of wage squeeze now, which the majority of the private sector has contributed towards. It was always going to crack at some point.

I think operators need to look a lot harder than potential trade disputes of reasons why people are leaving though. I read something last week that there are over 4,000 vacancies for bus drivers across the UK at the moment, with it being reported that drivers are leaving 'in their droves' for better-paid HGV jobs. I realise that the current DVSA industrial action is playing a part in the backlog of getting paperwork through, but the high turnover of staff in the industry has been a problem for years. No one has really tried to solve it, as there's always been an influx of as many coming in as those that are going out through those revolving doors.

When the two industries offer largely the same Victorian-era working-standards for drivers, it's always going to come down to pay, and also the added bonus that you don't have to work with the general public when driving a HGV.

Last point I'd make is that we shouldn't forget that key workers (such as bus drivers) have been lauded throughout this pandemic, and rightly so. The endless clapping, thank yous and other plaudits simply do not pay the bills though, and its up to those businesses (and Government for the Public Sector) to put their money where their mouth was now. The NHS has only been offered a measly 3% after over a decade of pay restraint, and being forced to work in dangerous conditions throughout the pandemic without adequate PPE.

(31 Oct 2021, 11:57 am)Andreos1 Wrote: This isn't a new thing though. It's not unique to pay disputes and there are many reasons why drivers leave to go to an independent.

Independents need to get drivers from somewhere (they wouldn't exist otherwise) and if they can offer something that a big operator can't and it ticks the drivers motivating factor, then good luck to them.

Also when it comes down to being a race to the bottom over pay rates, you lose any kind of loyalty from your workforce. I can imagine people would join independents for an easier life, given some of the conditions and working hours they're asked to work under with larger operations. The likes of GCT might prove more attractive with a more 'laid-back' approach to operating (and everything else)

You see it all the time with the likes of call centres popping up, where there's no loyalty and people will keep hopping around the same business park in hope of getting an extra 10p an hour.
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Still no updates on this and the stikes are supposed to start on Monday.... is no news good though?

But still someone from the top should come out and say whats happening, as normal there's been no communiction to passengers.. which is very normal at Stagecoach....
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(05 Nov 2021, 7:30 am)Michael Wrote: Still no updates on this and the stikes are supposed to start on Monday.... is no news good though?

But still someone from the top should come out and say whats happening, as normal there's been no communiction to passengers.. which is very normal at Stagecoach....


I think they were getting back round the table yesterday - presumably lack of comms in case yesterday resulted in something good.

Not sure what the result was.


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Busways strike off, no news on Transit.
Stagecoach Strike is off

From stagecoach website

Customers are advised that following further constructive talks the proposed industrial action next week at our Walkergate, Slatyford and South Shields depots has now been suspended by the Unite union, pending a ballot of their members regarding the pay offer.

Bus services operated by our Sunderland depot will also operate as normal.

As a result, there will be no industrial action in the Tyne and Wear area next week.
(05 Nov 2021, 8:38 am)RobinHood Wrote: Busways strike off, no news on Transit.

Aye, press release issued just after 9 this morning. Stakeholders informed too. Confirmed by email to one or two people yesterday evening that it had been resolved yesterday afternoon and strike action had been suspended pending a ballot.
Sunderland already in prior agreement.

Not sure what the outcome was regarding wages etc.
'Illegitimis non carborundum'
Industrial Action from Monday 8 November 2021 across Teesside and Hartlepool

04 Nov 2021

Stagecoach has received notification from the Unite trade union of their intention to proceed with industrial action. We have been notified the dates of strike action will be 8, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 30 November, and 2, 4 December 2021.

This strike action will affect all local bus services operated by our Teesside and Hartlepool depots. Regrettably, we will be unable to provide any local bus services from these depots on the days of the above strike action.

Tees Flex will also not operate on these days.

Customers are advised that all Stagecoach pre-paid customer tickets will be accepted for travel on local buses operated by Arriva in the affected areas during the dates of strike action.

In addition to the strike action, there will also be an overtime ban in place for non-strike days. As such, we will also need to temporarily reduce our timetables in a number of areas to try to mitigate this difficulty. Reduced timetables will therefore run on 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29 November and 1, 3 December 2021. Please click here to view the special timetables that will be in operation on these reduced service dates in Teesside and Hartlepool.

We have made what we consider to be a fair offer to Unite regarding the pay dispute, and we remain committed to working constructively with officials to deliver pay proposals that are fair to our people, and which also ensure the long-term sustainability of the bus network for local communities.

Stagecoach apologise for any inconvenience this industrial action may cause.


Teesside: https://tiscon-maps-stagecoachbus.s3.ama...021Nov.pdf

Hartlepool: https://tiscon-maps-stagecoachbus.s3.ama...021Nov.pdf
Ooo Friend, Bus Friend.
Week 2 of the strike here and looking on social media it is affecting a lot of people who are having to cancel appointments and all matter of other things. It means in Hartlepool a lot of people are stuck but good news for 23 Taxis as they have never been as busy. People don’t have a clue at the minute if Stagecoach are operating or not as in some cases buses are still been missed out it a complete mess and it seems they is no sign of this ending anytime soon either as I think more strikes are planned for after the new year as well.
Planned strike action 18th, 20th and 22nd has been suspended to allow for a vote on a pay offer on the 22nd.
(16 Nov 2021, 7:35 pm)tcts24 Wrote: Planned strike action 18th, 20th and 22nd has been suspended to allow for a vote on a pay offer on the 22nd.

For Sunderland etc?
Ooo Friend, Bus Friend.
(16 Nov 2021, 7:54 pm)Michael Wrote: For Sunderland etc?

Stockton and Hartlepool. The two depots actually on strike.