Stagecoach workers across Scotland have banded together to back plans for a strike action amid an ongoing dispute over “unfair” pay.
Around 1,000 Stagecoach workers – including drivers, engineering staff, administrative workers and cleaners – are demanding a “significant shift” in the company’s pay offer.
Unite Scotland today confirmed that unless the company rises up to resolve the dispute across all its Scotland divisions, a nation-wide industrial action by the end of the month will be “inevitable”.
Workers feel ‘undervalued’ and ‘underappreciated’
It comes after Stagecoach bus workers across Tayside and Fife voted by 94% to support strike action.
Dougie Maguire, Unite regional coordinator, hopes the latest revelations will spark a shift in the company to improve the conditions for their “undervalued” and “underappreciated” workers.
He said: “Unite has received a resounding mandate for industrial action across the whole of Stagecoach’s operations in Scotland.
“The results should really make Stagecoach sit up and take notice that their workers feel greatly undervalued, and underappreciated.
“The workforce has continued to work professionally throughout the pandemic and they have made a huge contribution to the massive profits of the Stagecoach Group.”
The mandate for industrial action covers major bus depots – including Inverness, Highlands and Islands – as Stagecoach operates routes across the whole of mainland Scotland and the Islands.
Strike action to bring disruption to COP26
Unite has demanded Stagecoach meet its “fair” pay claim of the Retail Price Index inflation figure plus 1%, as the latest accounts reveal that the Group made a profit of £58.4m, and it has over £875m of available liquidity.
Yesterday, Unite also confirmed that around 600 of its members in Fife, Perth and Strathtay rejected the latest pay offer from Stagecoach East of 2.4% backdated to May 2021 by 90%.
The union has warned that any industrial action will involve disruption to the COP26 climate change conference, which will be held in Glasgow from October 31 until November 12.
Mr Maguire added: “We want to emphasise that Unite’s ambition has been to solve this dispute amicably, and without our members having to take strike action.
“Yet, our members have had no option but to consider walking because the company hasn’t done enough talking.
‘Significant’ shift needed to end dispute
“The company needs to make a significant shift in its pay offers to end this dispute or industrial action in the coming weeks will be inevitable.”
David Frenz, operations director with Stagecoach, claims the firm is “leaving no stone unturned” in a bid to reach a settlement.
He said: “Buses are a lifeline for local people in Fife.
“We are committed to ensuring our people who keep our communities connected are properly rewarded, particularly after their contribution to the country over the past 18 months of the pandemic.
“We have worked tirelessly to protect the jobs of our people during the pandemic and done everything we reasonably can to hold constructive discussions with Unite to reach a sensible and sustainable pay agreement across our bus depots in Fife.
“That is why we have put a fresh pay offer to Unite which would give employees a 2.4% pay increase.”