Consett, UK – The community breathes a sigh of relief as Go North East bus workers have voted to accept a new pay offer, bringing an end to the extensive strike that has impacted north-east England for over a month.
Since 28 October, about 1,400 staff members, including drivers, office personnel, and engineers, had ceased operations in a dispute over pay, significantly affecting almost all services. However, a recent vote, with 1,407 participants, saw 749 workers in favour of the new offer, indicating a resolution to the standoff.
This positive outcome means bus services are set to return to their regular schedules from this Saturday, as per reports from the BBC.
In a significant development this Tuesday, Unite, the workers’ union, advised its members to accept the deal, which appears to have tipped the scales. The two-year agreement proposes an 11.2% pay increase from January to July, followed by an inflation-adjusted rise next year, guaranteed to be at least 4%.
Had the offer been declined, the strike could have been extended till April. Thankfully, the new deal not only ends the strike but also increases the majority of salaries from £12.83 to £14.27 per hour for the first half of the year. From July next year, the pay will further increase to a minimum of £14.84 per hour. Additionally, the deal includes a 10.5% backdated pay rise from July this year, with no changes to existing conditions.
The voting saw a clear majority of office staff and engineers in favour, while the drivers’ votes were more evenly split – 616 for and 609 against.
Sharon Graham, Unite’s general secretary, commended the workers for their solidarity and perseverance, which led to the improved offer and a subsequent victory for better pay.
Go North East is expected to release a statement soon, shedding more light on this significant development that marks a new chapter for its workforce and the many communities they serve.