TRANSPORT company Stagecoach and Unite Wales are continuing their talk on pay rises for drivers after Unite announced strike action for October 19.

Stagecoach has offered drivers at Blackwood, Brynmawr and Cwmbran a pay increase of up to 10.5 per cent - but Unite are asking for drivers to be paid £10.50 an hour.

The union claim that they are making these demands in order to achieve parity with local competitors.

Unite has said they are asking for this pay rise to be without caveats of sacrificing large amounts of sick pay and all paid breaks, as reportedly proposed by Stagecoach.

The two organisations are struggling to come to an agreement with harsh words being exchanged between senior figures.

Stagecoach and Unite have agreed to a meeting moderated by ACAS once Unite announced strike action for October 19.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Friday, October 8.

Managing director of Stagecoach in South Wales Nigel Winter said: "Our staff deserve a good pay rise and that is what we have offered.  

"Buses are a lifeline for local people in our region and we would urge Unite to use the talks planned with ACAS on Friday as a way of negotiating a collective agreement on pay and settling this dispute, avoiding untold unnecessary disruption for our staff, their families and our local communities.    

"Our teams have done an amazing job during the pandemic, and we very much appreciate everything they have done.

"But at the same time, we have a commitment to continue to protect jobs and ensure that future bus services in Wales remain sustainable for our customers to continue to use.  

"The offer we have put forward, which includes sensible productivity improvements, could see pay increased by up to £43 a week, with back pay of up to £700.

"We know this would make a huge difference for many of our people and their families right now."

Unite claim that the drivers have already earned their back pay by working through the pandemic.

Alan McCarthy, regional officer at Unite, said: "This years pay anniversary was in April, and previous to that Stagecoach had ‘dissolved’ all pay talks, meaning drivers have gone two years with no increase in pay while the cost of living has risen considerably.

"Back pay is something that workers have already earned, by working in a public facing role during a pandemic no less.

"To use money a driver has already worked for as a lever to get them to accept insufficient pay is a hideous practice, which bad employers have used mercilessly in the past.

"It’s a shame to see Stagecoach use it now."

Stagecoach have said that a strike would be likely to affect most Stagecoach bus services across the Blackwood, Brynmawr​, Cwmbran ​and Pontypool areas.

The company say they try to work with as many school services as possible as well as the fflecsi Blaenau Gwent on demand bus services.

Customers are advised to check and follow @StagecoachWales on Twitter for the latest updates.  

Mr Winter said: "Strike action is completely unnecessary and would simply damage the lives and livelihoods of hard-working people and businesses.

"We are hopeful ​that with the involvement of ACAS, a negotiated settlement may be reached and this will put an end ​to the uncertainty for our people, their families and our customers who rely on bus services."


Unite are reportedly skeptical of the commitment from Stagecoach to the talks, as they claim that ACAS were contacted half an hour after Unite gave Stagecoach notice of the intention to strike.

Unite have said they have repeatedly tried to involve ACAS as a moderator, but the offer was not taken up by Stagecoach until the strike was announced.

Mr McCarthy said: "It’s been stated by the company (Stagecoach) that they don’t believe ACAS involvement will see them improve their offer to parity with the competitor.

"Given that, and the fact that the managing director only acquiesced to the talks on the same day notice of action was given, members are dubious about Stagecoach’s commitment to these talks, and many believe this is a delay tactic by the company.

"Unite Wales are always willing to talk in order to reach an agreement for fair pay for these essential workers."