Union confirms staff to strike at Mansfield bus depot as row over pay continues - and Stagecoach services cancel due to ‘driver shortages’
A union official has announced that staff at a Mansfield bus depot will be striking on a day in October as part of a national campaign to increase their pay.
The strike will take place on Monday, October 18, from 00.01am to 11.59pm and will be joined by the Worksop depot, the Stagecoach Chesterfield depot, and others in the South West.
Stagecoach have been experiencing a national staff shortage which has led to many services cancelled, with more than a dozen services in and around Mansfield and Ashfield cancelled on a daily basis.
The strike comes during the union’s industrial action which is set to recommence on October 8 to October 22.
The union say they have had ‘no option’ but to strike, after Stagecoach managers ‘pedalled’ ‘abuse and misinformation’ over the union’s pay campaign which has led to drivers receiving abuse from the public.
RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “The massive votes for action by Stagecoach members reflect the growing disgust amongst bus workers at being kicked in the teeth on pay while inflation and wages elsewhere are rising steeply.
“Instead of responding positively to that justified anger from their staff with a fair offer the Stagecoach operation has instead resorted to a gutter campaign of abuse against their own staff designed to provoke a public backlash and that is what is happening right now. It is a disgrace.
“It's well established now that we are facing a national shortage of bus drivers as staff leave over poor pay and conditions. It is ridiculous that Stagecoach have chosen this moment to hammer their staff over pay.
"The consequences for local services will be horrific.
“RMT is fighting for professional wages for professional bus workers and our members are leading that charge right across the country now.
“We have had no option but to put this action on for the 18th October and the company should stop their attacks on their staff and start talking seriously about a just and fair settlement.”
Stagecoach and the union have been in discussions over pay and working conditions since May.
A Stagecoach spokesperson said: "Workers and students who rely on buses to access jobs and education, as well as businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic, will be angry that the RMT is planning to disrupt their lives and livelihoods.
"We are committed to offering good packages for our people and, as well as protecting jobs during the pandemic, we have reached agreement on pay increases for many employees at a number of depots around the country.
“However, the RMT has continued to make unrealistic and unaffordable demands, and in some instances has failed even to put above-inflation pay offers to a full ballot of its members.
“Any strike action is particularly counter-productive when bus networks require taxpayer support due to the pandemic and the focus of everyone should be on protecting the long-term sustainability of services for the local community.
"We very much remain open to continuing discussions with the union and would urge them to return to talks.”