By John Baron
Bus drivers in Leeds have today (Sunday) gone on indefinite strike in a row over when their annual pay rise takes place.
Around 800 Unite members out of First’s two depots – including Henconner Lane in Bramley – have walked out indefinitely from Sunday, affecting dozens of routes.
Workers say agreed to change the pay date from April to October to help the firm financially during the pandemic.
First has agreed to change the date back in 2025, but Unite said it would leave drivers “struggling”.
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “When First West Yorkshire needed its drivers to dig deep for the company, they did. Not only did they put their and their families’ health on the line by continuing to drive First buses, they also agreed to delay getting a pay rise.”
Ms Graham said First had taken advantage of this “sacrifice” to keep drivers’ wages down as inflation “rocketed”.
The union said delays in reverting to an April pay date would see workers “left struggling during the cost-of-living crisis” and would mean they might not get a pay increase until October.
Andrew Cullen, Managing Director of First North & West Yorkshire, said: “We are very disappointed and dismayed at the decision to continue with strike action in Leeds.
“The generous pay offer we made to the union of a 12 per cent increase between now and April next year is well above inflation and would have helped our drivers to manage the cost of living as quickly as possible.
“Part of this pay increase would have been implemented now with further rises in October and again in April 2024.
“The current agreement on pay, which was signed by Unite and its officials, is in place and agreed until October 2023. The anniversary date was changed during Covid in order to safeguard jobs and to enable us to offer an enhanced sick pay scheme during the pandemic.
“As part of our discussions, we listened to Unite’s request to return the anniversary date to April and as part of the offer we agreed to do this and therefore the next pay review date would be April 2025.
“Industrial action is not the way forward to find a settlement.”
Which buses are running and when?
During the industrial action, limited timetables will run from around 7am until around 7pm each day. There may be short notice changes if not enough drivers to run the services.
For latest service updates, follow this link.
Services 4, 16 and 42 will run hourly services.
Services run by other companies, such as the number 9 route, which is operated by Yorkshire Buses, and the 60 run by Transdev AireLine will operate as normal.
The following services will not be affected as they are run by First Bradford and will run as normal: 72, X6, X11 and 508, including school services: CH24, CH25, CH26, CH27, CH28, CM3, L74, L75, L78, L79, LW1, LW2, OA2, OA3, and OA4.
Route & Frequency
- 1B – No service
- N1 – No service
- 2 – Hourly
- 3 – Every 03 and 23 past the hour
- 3A – Hourly
- 4 – Hourly
- 4F – No service
- 5 – Hourly
- 6 & 8 – Every 30 mins
- 7 – Hourly
- 7A & 7S – No service
- 9A – No service
- 11A – No service
- 12 – Hourly to Roundhay Park
- 13 – Hourly to Brackenwood
- 13A – Hourly
- 12 & 13 – Every 20 mins to Middleton
- 14 – No service
- 15 – No service
- 16 – Hourly
- 16A – No service
- 19 & 19A – No service
- 27 – No service
- 28 – No service
- 33 – No service
- 34 – Hourly
- 38 – Hourly
- 39 – No service
- 40 – Hourly
- 42 – Hourly
- 46 – No service
- 47 & 47A – No service
- 49 – No service
- 50 – Hourly to 11:16 then hourly till 17:18
- 50A – No service
- 51 – No service
- 52 – Every 30 mins (no journey at 13:20)
- 55 & 55C – No service
- 56 – Hourly
- 62 – No service
- 64 – No service
- 65 – No service
- 74 – No service
- 75 – No service
- X84 – No service
- 86 – No service
- 91 – No service
- PR1 – Every 15 mins (Mon-Fri)
- PR2 – Sorry, no service
- PR3 – Every 15 mins (Mon-Sat)
- Flexi Bus – No service.
How much will fares cost?
Buses running on limited service will have a flat fare of £1 for all journeys. The fare must be paid in cash on the bus or using contactless payments, as the reduced tickets will not be available on the app.