First Manchester Bus issues statement as Unite announce fresh strike dates for July and August

The bus company has issued a statement following confirmation of further strike action to take place this month

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First Manchester has released a statement following news Unite members at the company will take part in further strike action this month. The company has said that further industrial action “is not the way to get the situation resolved.”

The company said that it made a pay offer to drivers at its Oldham depot. This offer was 15.2 per cent and the company has said this would make the drivers some of the best paid in the region. First Manchester has also refuted claims from Unite that they were experiencing a driver shortage. 

Drivers at First Bus Manchester took part in strike action earlier this month, with many routes being affected by the walk-out. Further strikes are set to take place on July 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 28. Today, Unite announced more dates on 31 July and the 2, 4, 7, 10 and 11 August.

Ian Humphreys, Managing Director of First Manchester, said: “We have been in discussions about pay since February and amended our ‘no strings’ offer to bring forward a further increase in pay to this October and this was rejected.

“This would have made our drivers some of the best-paid in the region. Announcing further strike dates is not the way to get this situation resolved.

“Continued industrial action will be damaging to everyone and cause yet more severe disruption to the daily lives of our customers who rely on the bus to get to work, education and for appointments.”

Following confirmation of the further strike dates, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: First has millions in the bank and is penny pinching – much to the detriment of the travelling public. The amount it would cost to implement a single pay deal is water off a duck’s back to the company. 

Drivers at First Bus in Manchester are striking this monthDrivers at First Bus in Manchester are striking this month
Drivers at First Bus in Manchester are striking this month

“To First Manchester’s struggling drivers, however, receiving a full pay rise in one go will help relieve the financial pressures they are under from rising prices and historic low pay. Our members do a tough job, First Manchester needs to acknowledge that by providing a no-strings pay deal.”