Strike called off at Ipswich Buses

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A looming strike at Ipswich Buses was cancelled after the operator and Unite agreed to resolve a pay dispute, the East Anglian Daily Times reported.

Around 140 Unite union members of Ipswich Buses had been due to go on strike on Monday, October 10, in a row over starting pay for drivers. However, an undisclosed deal was reached on Friday, October 7.

Replacement services for all dedicated school buses arranged by Suffolk County Council (SCC) before the strike was called off remained in place on Monday, due to the short notice. Parents were told to wait with their child until they were on an authorised school bus.

A SCC spokesman, speaking after the deal was reached, said: “We have been informed that the planned strike by staff at Ipswich Buses Ltd has been called off.

“However, given the short notice, Ipswich Buses will not be able to provide the dedicated school bus service on Monday.

“The alternative school bus arrangements we have set up will therefore remain in place.”

Two-thirds of union bus drivers had accepted a new pay rate of £11.00 an hour – up 18p an hour – for June 2016-June 2017.

However, the dispute centred on the starter drivers, who earn £8.66 an hour. The union said the company offered £8.81, but it wanted to secure £10.00.

Unite Regional Officer, Steve Linger, said: “We have achieved an equitable settlement on the pay for the lower paid third of the drivers.

“As a result, Unite’s drivers at Ipswich Buses won’t be going ahead with Monday’s 24-hour strike and will be working normally.

“We hope to continue to work in a constructive fashion with the management in the future for the benefit of the company, its workforce and the travelling public.”

Jeremy Cooper, Managing Director of Ipswich Buses, said: “We are pleased we have been able to avert this strike and that our customers will receive a normal service on Monday.

“Like Unite, we look forward to working constructively with them on any future issues.”