Hundreds of Lancashire bus drivers drivers to strike

Hundreds of Lancashire bus drivers drivers to strike
Hundreds of Lancashire bus drivers drivers to strike

Hundreds of Lancashire bus drivers are to go on strike this weekend after pay talks broke down.

Routes to and from the Fylde coast are among those expected to be affected when Stagecoach drivers - who operate from Preston and Chorley bus stations - take action on Saturday.

The Unite trade union they belong to have been locked in talks with management for weeks. But after a meeting on Tuesday, the two sides failed to arrive at an agreement, said Unite.

Some 300 drivers are said to be involved.

Regional industrial organiser at Unite, John Boughton, confirmed a series of one-day strikes, starting on Saturday, are planned. Further action is scheduled for May 14, 25, 28 and 31, as well as June 1.

Mr Boughton said: “The negotiations broke down with no other offer form the company and as a consequence the strike action on Saturday will take place.”

Stagecoach said it was drafting in extra drivers to help minimise disruption. Bosses said they were “disappointed” over the industrial action.

Mr Boughton said the drivers were seeking a 4.6 per cent pay increase over a year and Stagecoach’s offer of 4.8 per cent over an 18-month period was unacceptable.

“The drivers at Preston are the poor relations in terms of pay,” he added.

“They’re getting, in some instances, almost £1 less than colleagues elsewhere within the Stagecoach family.”

Stagecoach said it would continue to operate services on the majority of routes during the strikes.

Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire managing director Rob Jones called the union’s pat demand “unrealistic”.

“We have made a very fair offer and we don’t believe strike action will achieve anything other than to inconvenience local people,” he added.