Stagecoach drivers in Barnsley first took strike action in November for a week but worked throughout the Christmas period to ensure residents were able to see their families.
However, they confirmed earlier this month they will be taking ‘all-out’ indefinite strike action starting in the new year after 95 per cent of its workforce rejected a revised pay offer that ‘did not meet their expectations’.
The workers, who earn £10.80 an hour in Barnsley, want their pay increased to a minimum of £11.40 an hour.
The strike action means that from today, most services will not be running - except for dedicated school buses - despite Stagecoach bosses claiming they have worked ‘very hard’ to avoid more strike action.
Phil Medlicott, managing director at Stagecoach Yorkshire, said: “We’ve worked tirelessly to protect the jobs of our people during the pandemic, and we are also leaving no stone unturned in our current pay discussions.
“We believe our people should be properly rewarded and at the same time the long-term sustainability of the bus network for local communities should be protected.
“However, there needs to be flexibility on both sides.
“We have now made several above-inflation offers, including multi-year proposals to give additional security to our people.
“It is frustrating that there has not been the same approach from union representatives.
“Strike action is unnecessary and benefits no-one.”
Trade union Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, added: “Stagecoach is pleading poverty but we know it’s just hot air.
“Our members know Unite will fight to defend and improve their jobs, pay and conditions and we will continue to support this campaign until Stagecoach’s staff are offered a reasonable pay deal.
“Our members are the lowest paid in the region and they are determined to end this pay injustice.
“However, menacing comments from Mr Medlicott, who said the strikes put ‘employees’ own jobs at risk’, has only strengthened their resolve.
“The last thing our members want is to cause disruption to members of the public, which is why they have pledged not to strike over Christmas.
“Unless Stagecoach tables an offer that they can accept, however, strikes will resume tomorrow.”