First Leeds drivers hold 24 hour strike

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A 24-hour bus strike was held at First Leeds on Monday, June 13, after Unite union members voted to reject a pay offer from the operator.

Members of the Unite union at the operator’s Hunslet Park and Bramley depots went on strike from 0200hrs.

First Leeds said all routes in the city were affected ‘to some degree,’ though its Park & Ride service was running as usual. The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that around 1,000 drivers and customer hosts took part in the strike, and 65 bus routes were affected.

Buses from depots in Bradford, Huddersfield and Halifax were not affected.

Paul Matthews, Managing Director of First Leeds, said: “I’m very disappointed that the new pay offer negotiated with Unite has been rejected.

“The strike will cause massive disruption to tens of thousands of people across Leeds including workers and those in education taking exams.

“We remain absolutely committed to resolving this dispute. We will do all we can to avoid further industrial action.”

Paul said the company had made a ‘reasonable, above-inflation offer,’ which met the union’s demands for an extra 36p an hour, though it did say the payment would have to be staggered.

No date had been set for further talks as CBW went to press.

Phil Brown, of the Unite union, said: “There are further strikes planned but we want the company at the table.

“Another strike could be called on Monday, June 20. I apologise to commuters who are affected by the strike action, but this is the last straw.

“We would urge First Bus management to drop its hardline attitude which risks causing disruption for the travelling public and enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.”
First Leeds said its offer would have delivered a pay increase of more than 3% in a one-year deal, though it was rejected by members at a meeting on Thursday, June 9.