Go North East, a local bus company, faces two weeks of industrial action as 1,300 drivers are set to strike in October over a pay disagreement. The strike have taken place 30 September-6 October and will again from 14-20 October, affecting all six depots of the company, including the depot right here in Consett.
Of the drivers balloted, 98% chose to strike. This decision comes after Go North East proposed to standardise certain union conditions across its depots, offering a two-year deal. The company offered a 9.11% pay increase for the first year, with inflation rates to be applied the next year. However, workers voiced concerns, stating that the company intended to cut paid meal breaks and extend shifts by reducing paid commute time between bus stations and depots, effectively making the workers pay for their own salary increase.
Go North East expressed disappointment over the decision to strike. They highlighted their commitment to the drivers, indicating the offer was substantial, especially given the financial strains on the company. The potential for a neutral third-party, Acas, to mediate the disagreement was suggested, as both sides seek a resolution beneficial to the drivers, company, and passengers.
It’s worth noting that Richard Holden, the MP for North West Durham, which encompasses Consett, serves as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Roads and Local Transport. His responsibilities span a wide range of transport areas, with a special emphasis on local buses. If you’ve experienced issues with local buses, consider reaching out to Mr. Holden to ensure your concerns are heard at the highest level.
Adding to the complexity of the situation, local residents have previously reported to Consett Magazine about the inconsistency of Go North East’s services. Numerous complaints highlight buses not adhering to schedules or, in some cases, not showing up at all.
Have feedback on our local buses? Now’s your chance to have your say! We understand how vital local transport is to our community. Share your experiences with us, and together, we can ensure that Go North East and our local representatives understand the importance of consistent and reliable services. Speak up, and let’s make a difference together!