Bus dispute ends as Hartlepool Stagecoach workers accept improved pay offer

Future strike action by Hartlepool bus workers has been called off after union chiefs agreed a new pay deal with company bosses.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:35 pm

More than 200 bus workers, based at Stagecoach’s depots in Hartlepool and Stockton, manned picket lines earlier this month in the dispute.

Stagecoach employees, who are members of Unite, have now voted to accept the company's pay proposals, which include a minimum 8.5% pay rise over the next 10 months.

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Stagecoach staff outside the Brenda Road depot during strike action earlier this month. Picture by FRANK REID

Union chiefs hailed the settlement as a “significant result” for workers.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham added: "By standing together in unity they ensured that the company made a pay offer that met their expectations.”

Stagecoach said the action, which began on November 8, meant the company were unable to run bus services on strike days.

Steve Walker, managing director of Stagecoach North East, has now said: “We’re very proud of our team, who do a fantastic job in delivering vital transport connections for local people.

Steve Walker of Stagecoach North East.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with our Unite local representatives that provides a fair deal for our employees in Stockton and Hartlepool and helps to secure the long-term sustainability of the local bus network.

“We remain focused on delivering the best service possible to our customers at a time when there are challenges facing bus networks across the country as a result of the pandemic and other factors outside our control.”

The bus drivers' grading system will also be revised so that new drivers with less than one year’s service will receive an upgrade, while all drivers with at least one year’s service will be placed on the top rate of pay.

From December 2022 all top rate drivers, duty managers and inspectors will receive a yearly 20 pence increase to ensure parity Sunderland depot’s pay rates within five years.

Chris Whelan vice chair of the Unite branch 302/19 outside the Stagecoach depot on Brenda Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

And all workers with at least two months' service prior to October 31 this year will receive £140 lump sum.

Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mark Sanderson said: “Special praise must go to Unite’s members who were prepared to take strike action to secure a fair pay offer.

“Unite always believed that this dispute could be resolved through negotiations and this eventually proved to be the case."

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