First Manchester bus strike: four more dates in January when strikes are due to resume

Four further days of industrial action are planned for this month, but there are talks scheduled to try to resolve the dispute.

First Manchester bus drivers embroiled in a pay dispute with the company are set for four further days of strike action this month.

There were no services run by the company on Monday and Tuesday (10 and 11 January) after members of trade union Unite walked out in the ongoing industrial dispute.

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The strike included disruption to a number of school runs as well as passenger services across Greater Manchester.

And residents will have to brace themselves for more disruption if the two sides cannot come to an agreement.

When are First Manchester bus drivers set to strike again?

Currently there are four further days of strike action planned this month.

There are two days next week, with action on Tuesday 18 January and Thursday 20 January.

The following week there are walk-outs planned for Monday 24 January and Wednesday 26 January.

However, there are talks planned to try to resolve the dispute before the next day of industrial action.

What is the dispute about and what has been said?

The dispute is about pay and conditions and a key sticking point for the drivers is that pay increases are not being backdated to August 2021, the anniversary date for when the annual pay increase was due.

Unite says the drivers are currently earning around £12.40 per hour and will no longer tolerate this level of pay for a highly-skilled role with a lot of responsibility.

Several rounds of negotiations have been held after Unite’s 300 or so members in the company overwhelmingly voted in favour of industrial action.

First is planning further cuts in January.

That included last-minute talks on Friday 7 January but they failed to prevent the first two days of strikes going ahead.

First Manchester said it was disappointed that strike action had gone ahead but pledged to continue talking with Unite to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) said 28 school bus services did not run this week as its attempts to get all First Manchester’s routes for students covered had been hampered by the high levels of staff absence due to Covid-19.