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Stagecoach drivers win "huge" pay increase in South Yorkshire

Workers will now be paid 10.7% more from this week, making their hourly rate more in-line with colleagues across the country.

Whats App Image 2022 01 18 at 3 00 40 PM

Stagecoach drivers in Barnsley on the picket line.

Unite Community / BBSY.

Sheffield bus drivers working for Stagecoach have secured what has been described by their union as a "huge" pay increase after taking strike action.

From this week drivers will receive a 10.7% increase to £11.60 an hour, putting their pay more in-line with that of Stagecoach drivers elsewhere in the country.

Before the latest pay increase, Stagecoach drivers were paid £11.40 in Wales, £12 in the north-east and £11.50 in the north-west – but only £10.52 in Sheffield and £10.80 in Rotherham.

“Unite now does exactly what it says on the trade union tin: fight to defend our members’ jobs, pay and conditions," said Sharon Graham, the new general secretary of the Unite union which negotiated the increase.

"The inflation busting pay rise at Stagecoach in South Yorkshire, as well as similar victories at other workplaces across the country, shows this approach is paying dividends for Unite members."

More than 560 drivers belonging to Unite across South Yorkshire began what they described as an "indefinite" strike on New Year's Day after rejecting a 9% offer spread over a 15-month period.

The strikes were suspended on 12 January in Barnsley and Rotherham and 14 January in Sheffield while the latest pay offer was put to Unite members, who voted 90% to accept the deal.

In a statement marking the agreement, Stagecoach said they had been "100% committed to delivering pay increases for our people," despite the agreement coming about after sustained industrial action by union members.

Founded in Scotland in 1980, Stagecoach has taken advantage of bus deregulation to profit from public transport services across the UK, and has "been known to cut less profitable routes and hike prices," according to The Guardian.

In 2000 company founder Brian Souter donated £1 million to a campaign to keep Section 28, a piece of legislation that banned schools from teaching that gay relationships are normal and healthy.

Since then the company has been subject to protests from LGBT activists but also disability rights campaigners in South Yorkshire, who recently said that poor services from Stagecoach and rival First meant that disabled people are "unable to access services on an equal basis or live independent lives."

Unite, which has called for bus services to be brought back under public control, called the latest settlement a "huge win" for drivers in the region, who are paid different amounts depending on which company they work for.

“This result shows what can be achieved through strong union organisation, which is why we urge workers looking to improve their pay and conditions to join Unite and to get their colleagues to do the same," said the union's regional officer Phil Bown.

by Sam Gregory (he/him)
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