STRIKE action that has affected the entire First Manchester bus service has ended after drivers accepted a vastly improved pay offer.
Eight days of strike action have taken place since the beginning of the year, causing considerable disruption to bus passengers across Greater Manchester.
But now it has come to an end after the 300 plus drivers, who are members of the UK’s leading union Unite, recorded a 70 per cent yes vote to accept the improved pay offer.
It will see drivers’ basic pay rates increase by 8.9 per cent, all other payments increase by the same percentage and they will also receive a one-off payment of £750.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is an excellent result for our members at First Manchester. By standing together and remaining united they have secured a substantial pay rise.
“This deal puts down a strong marker for other bus companies that Unite will fight for decent pay increases that reflect the cost of living crisis.
“We are determined to defend members’ jobs, pay and conditions – it is Unite’s number one priority.”
Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: “From the beginning of this dispute Unite made it clear that strike action could be avoided if First Manchester was prepared to table an offer that met our members’ aspirations. Once the company understood this, a deal was agreed and the dispute ended.
“It is hoped that following this pay deal, relations with First Manchester can be strengthened and further disputes can be avoided in the future.”
Ian Humphreys, managing director of First Manchester, said: “We are pleased that an agreement on pay has finally been accepted.
“It brings an end to this dispute and the significant hardship it has caused our colleagues and their families, and the disruption to the travel plans of our customers.
“We have always been clear on what was achievable through constructive talks with Unite representatives.”