Go North East strike continues as talks fail

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Bosses at Go North East have been forced to scrap most timetabled busses after drivers rejected a pay offer amidst ongoing indefinite strike action.

A ballot by the Unite union rejected a 10.3% pay offer. Go North East claims that the pay offer would have made them the “best-paid bus drivers in the region”. Union officials have claimed that their requested 13% pay rise, which they say would cost the company £238,000, is modest taking into account comparable work nationally and Go North East’s £85 million in profits.

Drivers working for Go North West, which is owned by the same parent company, are paid £15.53 per hour for the same work: 20% more than the equivalent driver at Go North East.

Go North East claims that its drivers in Manchester work under a “far more flexible” agreement, justifying the extra pay.

“This strike is all of Go North East’s making. They could come back to the table with an offer that addresses the current low pay at Go North East, but its refusal to do so speaks volumes about the low esteem they hold the people of the North East in”

Mark Sanderson, Unite Union

The regional officer for Unite, Mark Sanderson said “This strike is all of Go North East’s making. They could come back to the table with an offer that addresses the current low pay at Go North East, but its refusal to do so speaks volumes about the low esteem they hold the people of the North East in”. Unite has also promised to offer financial help to strikers in the form of £70 per day.

Go North East has labelled the Union’s demands “unrealistic”, with business director Ben Maxfield saying that meeting their demands would cause a “loss of bus routes, a reduction in the number of drivers required, and poorer services all round”.

Apart from a few school buses and a service for hospital workers in Newcastle, Go North East have been unable to run any services on strike days.

A group of Labour MPs have piled pressure on the company to reach a compromise with the union. However, talks have since broken down with Dave Telford, a Unite official, saying that they had “put various proposals on the table” and yet “there is only one party currently wishing to negotiate and that’s Unite”. Go North East claims that the union Unite walked out of talks of Monday, and demanded pay increases every six months.

Image: Alex Noble via Wikimedia Commons

One thought on “Go North East strike continues as talks fail

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