Liverpool bus strikes: workers demand ‘better offer’ from Stagecoach as walkouts over pay begin

Stagecoach drivers and engineers in Merseyside have gone on strike in a dispute over pay.

Liverpool bus drivers have begun what could become a series of strikes throughout July that threatens to affect Stagecoach’s entire operation in the region.

On Monday, 370 members of Unite the Union, who are employed as bus drivers and engineers at Stagecoach Merseyside’s Gilmoss depot, walked out in a stand against low pay.

Workers could also strike on a series of other dates over the next few weeks if the dispute is not resolved.

What Unite and Stagecoach say about strikes

Dave Roberts, regional officer for Unite the Union, said: "Look I’m disappointed that I’m standing here with all my men today.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve got members who can’t afford to eat properly at times and struggle to put fuel in their cars. So, life is a disappointment at times.

“But Stagecoach has a great future. They’ve just been taken over by a company and had £600 million invested back into them as well as posting profits of nearly £50 million last week. So, I think we’re in two totally different worlds there.

Dave Roberts, regional officer for Unite the Union.

“But I would expect Stagecoach to afford a decent pay rise at the terms that our members want."

Strike action planned for last week was called off to allow the workforce to be balloted on Stagecoach's latest offer of a pay rise. However, members “overwhelmingly decided” that it did not meet their expectations.

Stagecoach said it had made “a reasonable offer in these difficult times” of 10.3% and were disappointed that the revised pay proposals had been rejected.

Matt Davies, managing director at Stagecoach Merseyside, said: “We are absolutely committed to securing the best deal possible for our people. But we have to think about the future of the bus network and the implications that higher pay demands have on the cost and scope of the services we can offer to our local communities.”

What happens next?

Mr Roberts said: "If I was Stagecoach, I would be looking at what is going on today, seeing the support we’ve got, the solidarity, and thinking we need to do something about this. They know they need to make some changes to what they offered before. We expect them to go away and put a better offer together on the table."

Unite says its members' anger over low pay at Stagecoach is deep-seated and that pay rates are below those of competitors in the region who might even be driving the same routes.

A young girl joins bus drivers and engineers from Stagecoach Merseyside striking outside the company’s Gilmoss depot. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

More disruption is expected

If the dispute is not resolved then it is expected that further dates for industrial action will be confirmed in the near future.

Stagecoach have said there could be disruption on the following dates:

  • Friday 15th July
  • Monday 18th July / Wednesday 20th July / Friday 22nd July
  • Monday 25th July / Thursday 28th July / Friday 29th July

The strike action would mean the majority of Stagecoach services in Liverpool will not operate.

The walk outs will affect services 10A, 14, 17, 19, 20/21, 53, 82, 86/86C, 97/98, 204, 217.

All school/college/work services – 686, 715, 720, 771, 772, 782, 793, 800, 835, 881, will also not operate.

Stagecoach services 1/X1, X2 & 471/472 operating from other depots into Liverpool will operate as normal.

Growing support for unions?

Google search data reveals that searches for 'join union' exploded 184% in the United Kingdom as of 22nd June 2022 - the highest level in over a year.

The analysis by recruitment experts Workello reveals that searches for 'join union' grew to almost triple the average volume. The data also reveals that searches for 'how to strike' have exploded 135% since the strikes began.