Peterborough on hold as bus dispute settled elsewhere

Stagecoach

Stagecoach settle disputes in parts of Cambridgeshire but more talks planned at Peterborough - Credit: Stagecoach

A bus strike in much of Cambridgeshire has been averted.  

But a settlement – announced tonight by Stagecoach – does not include those employed at Peterborough.

Talks will continue there tomorrow (Thursday).  

Stagecoach East announced tonight that members of the Unite union had suspended strike action at its Cambridge and Fenstanton depots.  

Today’s discussions with the union over a pay rise had been “positive,” said a Stagecoach spokesperson.  

“Unite has confirmed that planned industrial action by its members in Cambridge and Fenstanton has been suspended whilst a new pay offer is considered.  

“Members will now be given the opportunity to vote on the new pay offer, which is being strongly recommended by Unite. 

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“This means that bus services in Cambridge and Fenstanton will operate as planned.” 

Unite regional officer Mark Plumb said: “Following positive discussions with Cambus management today (Wednesday 29 December), it has been agreed that the strikes due to start on Tuesday (4 January) are suspended while our members based at Cambridge and Fenstanton vote on an improved pay offer over the next couple of days.

"Details of the offer remain confidential while our members vote on the package.
 
“Tomorrow (Thursday 30 December), Unite is having talks with the Cambus management in Peterborough when we expect a similar improved offer to be put on the table.”

Darren Roe, managing director of Stagecoach East, said: “We have had positive discussions with Unite today. 

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the union that provides a fair deal for our employees in Cambridge and Fenstanton and helps to secure the long-term sustainability of the local bus network for our local communities. 

"Talks will continue on Thursday with Unite representatives covering employees based at Peterborough depot and we remain hopeful that an agreement can also be reached to avoid the threat of strike action going ahead in Peterborough." 

400 workers -including drivers, engineers, cleaners and shunters – had previously voted to hold 10 days of strike action in January. 

Unite said its members – based at Cambridge,  Fenstanton and Peterborough had voted by 96 per cent to hold the strike days which would have run from January 4 through to Thursday January 20. 

The union says its members have not had a pay rise since April, 2019. 

The workers employed by Cambus Ltd, part of Stagecoach, rejected a 1.5 per cent pay offer from April 2021. 

Bosses had also offered a 1.5 per cent this month for the pay year 2021/22 but the offer was dismissed by Unite. 

Mr Plumb said: “Our members should not pay for the continuing pandemic, while the employer has readily scooped up UK taxpayer support, including cash from the furlough scheme.” 

When he spoke before Christmas, Mr Plumb had suggested there was “a window of opportunity for the management to come forward with a realistic pay offer for our members that reflects the fast-rising rate of inflation, otherwise the strikes will go-ahead”.