Stagecoach settles more pay deals as Wales ACAS talks restart

Stagecoach settled some pay disputes

Two more Stagecoach subsidiaries have settled disputes with Unite over drivers’ pay, but further talks between the group’s South Wales operating company and the union involving ACAS were scheduled for Thursday 21 October in a bid to find a solution to a stalemate that saw strike action at three depots two days earlier. 

At Stagecoach Manchester, a threat of stoppages by over 1,000 drivers at four depots has ended after they “overwhelmingly accepted” what Unite describes as “a greatly improved pay offer.” That involved a 3.7% increase backdated to 1 October and a £150 one-off payment. The union has called the conclusion of the dispute “a tremendous victory” for its members involved.

Also over is a dispute between Stagecoach Yorkshire and Unite members at its Chesterfield depot. They have accepted a one-year deal to May 2022 that will see wages rise by 4.5%. Unite says it will be seeking a further increase at that point. At the time of writing, union RMT had yet to confirm whether its members at Chesterfield had accepted the offer.

The agreements with Unite follow earlier settlements at Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire’s Chorley, Gillmoss and Preston depots that had all seen strike action threatened.

Meanwhile, progress between RMT and Stagecoach South West in ending a dispute saw a strike planned at depots in Devon on 18 October called off after “constructive discussions” between the two parties. That followed an earlier suspension of planned strikes by RMT members at Stagecoach East Midlands’ Mansfield and Worksop bases.

ACAS talks involving Unite and Stagecoach South Wales are to restart in a bid to settle the increasingly acrimonious dispute that has already seen stoppages by staff at Blackwood, Brynmawr and Cwmbran depots. 

The two parties have already met unsuccessfully with ACAS, but the operator fired a broadside at Unite the day prior to the fresh intervention by accusing it of making demands that are “unsustainable and [which] would damage the long-term viability of services.” 

Stagecoach South Wales says it has already put forward an average increase of 8.6% across the three locations plus 3% back pay, both over unspecified periods. It adds that the offer would “see existing staff conditions protected and sick pay retained as agreed at other Stagecoach South Wales depots.” 

Unite previously attacked the operator for what it claimed were cuts to sick pay and changes to other conditions. Stagecoach has denied that, saying that the proposed changes to sick pay are at Brynmawr depot and affect 10 drivers. They would bring their sick pay arrangements “to the same level agreed with the union at all other Stagecoach depots in Wales in return for a 9.2% pay rise plus 4.6% back pay.”