Stagecoach industrial action has been suspended in Hartlepool after "potential breakthrough" over pay
Industrial action by Stagecoach bus workers in Hartlepool has been suspended after a potential breakthrough between the company and union.
The strikes scheduled for Thursday, November 18, Saturday, November 20, and Monday, November 22, have all been called off to allow members to ballot on an improved pay offer.
The new offer was made following extensive negotiations between Stagecoach’s management and the union Unite.
But passengers are advised that reduced timetables will remain in place for the rest of this week.
Steve Walker, Managing Director for Stagecoach North East, said: "Following constructive discussions with Unite union representatives, the ongoing industrial action at our Stockton and Hartlepool depots has now been suspended, pending a ballot of their members.
"Reduced timetables will continue to operate for the remainder of this week, with normal services resuming from Monday 22 November.
"As always, our Service Updates web page will be updated to reflect the service arrangements for Teesside and Hartlepool, and customers can find the latest information by following us on Twitter, @StagecoachNE."
He said Stagecoach has reached agreements with unions in Newcastle, Sunderland, South Shields as well as the majority of other depots across the country and is hopeful that Teesside and Hartlepool will follow soon.
Unite regional officer Mark Sanderson said: “Since the beginning of this dispute Unite believed that a resolution could be achieved through negotiations.
“The improved offer will now be voted on by members who will decide if it meets their expectations.”
Strike action began on Monday, November 8, and the workforce have already taken four days of industrial action in the dispute.
The union said it was “drawing a line in the sand” in its demands for better pay and accused Stagecoach of “penny pinching”.
It caused significant disruption to services with Stagecoach saying it was unable to run any buses on the days of strike action.
But pre-paid customer tickets were accepted on Arriva buses.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a potential breakthrough in the dispute.
“However, Unite is committed to ensuring that the jobs, pay and conditions of our members are fully protected and so the union will continue to support our members until this dispute with Stagecoach is resolved.”