First Manchester bus strike: industrial action ends after weeks of disruption as drivers accept pay offer

A dispute over pay and working conditions which saw weeks of walk-outs and disruption for bus passengers has come to an end in Greater Manchester.

A bus strike which saw weeks of walk-outs and disruption for passengers across Greater Manchester is over.

Drivers at First Manchester have accepted a new pay offer to bring to an end the row over wages and working conditions.

Hundreds of drivers represented by trade union Unite staged a number of days of strike action in January and February.

The union has expressed delight at the outcome for its members while the company said it was pleased the dispute had been resolved.

What happened to end the dispute?

The series of strike dates came to an end after drivers accepted a new offer made by First Manchester which means rates will rise by 8.9%.

In addition to this increase in basic pay the drivers will see all other payments increase by the same percentage and they will also receive a one off payment of £750.

Bus drivers took eight days of strike action in total in the dispute, which caused considerable disruption to bus passengers throughout Greater Manchester.

But all that is now over after the improved pay offer was put to a ballot and 70% of the drivers voted to accept it.

What has the union said?

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said:“This is an excellent result for our members at First Manchester. By standing together and remaining united they have secured a substantial pay rise.

“This deal puts down a strong marker for other bus companies that Unite will fight for decent pay increases that reflect the cost of living crisis. We are determined to defend members’ jobs, pay and conditions – it is Unite’s number one priority.”

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Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “From the beginning of this dispute Unite made it clear that strike action could be avoided if First Manchester was prepared to table an offer that met our members’ aspirations.

“Once the company understood this, a deal was agreed and the dispute ended.

“It is hoped that following this pay deal, relations with First Manchester can be strengthened and further disputes can be avoided in the future.”

What has the company said?

Ian Humphreys, managing director of First Manchester, said: “We are pleased that an agreement on pay has finally been accepted. It brings an end to this dispute and the significant hardship it has caused our colleagues and their families, and the disruption to the travel plans of our customers.

“We have always been clear on what was achievable through constructive talks with Unite representatives. This has now been accepted.”