First Manchester strike called off

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A major bus strike planned by First Manchester drivers has been called off after a new pay offer, the Manchester Evening News reported.

A two-day strike had been planned, which could have impacted more than 130 services, including 74 school buses. Originally due to take place on Monday, June 12, and Tuesday, June 13, and during a key exam time for pupils, it involved 850 drivers at the Oldham and Queens Road depots.

All First Manchester services ran as per the timetable on the two days.

Phil Medlicott, Managing Director at First Manchester, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the trade union, as strike action would have had a huge impact on our customers who rely on our services every day.

“Our bus drivers do a fantastic job and we are happy to provide a pay increase that rewards their hard work and support for the business.”

Negotiations over drivers’ rates of pay had been ongoing since October 2016. Unite’s most recent request was for a 1.5% increase plus two days’ extra holiday for the majority of drivers.

It also asked that by October 2018, all drivers are moved to the top rate of pay.

First, which closed its Bury and Tameside depots this year to save money, had insisted drivers were offered a fair pay offer in light of its efforts to reduce operating costs.