Bus drivers and engineers in Merthyr are threatening to strike at the start of the new school term over an alleged pay dispute.
GMB Union has said Stagecoach staff are set to strike on Monday, September 6, on the first full week of the school term, after claiming they get paid around a pound an hour less by the company for working in Merthyr Tydfil compared to their colleagues at the Porth depot.
A spokesperson for Stagecoach has said these claims are ‘misleading’ and that overall pay and conditions “should be taken into account”.
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The strike has been called after GMB members voted “overwhelmingly” for strike action at the company’s Merthyr Tydfil depot. They claim the move could see the county borough “grind to a halt” as drivers refuse to work on one of the busiest weeks of the year.
Gareth Morgans, GMB organiser, said the current situation has been building for a number of years.
He said: “Ask yourself, if you were paid a pound an hour less for doing the same job as your colleague, you’d be pretty annoyed wouldn’t you? This situation has gone on for years.
“The strike laws the way they are means that the first date we can take action is in September, so unfortunately that’s the way it’s worked out.
“It’s not too late, we’re meeting with Stagecoach on Friday and we’re hopeful they’ll put an offer on the table that will avoid this chaos, but the ball is very much in their court. Why is Merthyr treated differently? If it’s good enough for Porth, its good enough for Merthyr, and the rest of the valleys depots.”
A Stagecoach South Wales spokesperson said they are disappointed to hear that the union has decided to take this step.
They said: “We are disappointed that the union has chosen to take this step, particularly when bus networks are requiring taxpayer support as a result of the pandemic and the focus should be on protecting the long-term sustainability of services for the local community.
“We are committed to offering good packages for our people that reflect the local economic conditions, the varying costs of running services and the level of passenger journeys. The union’s claims are misleading. Overall pay and conditions should be taken into account and not a selective focus on one element.
“We very much remain open to continuing discussions with the union. We have already put forward a means to continue discussions and would urge them to return to talks.”
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