THREATENED strike action on Rotherham buses will go ahead from tomorrow, bus operator Stagecoach has confirmed.
The company has been locked in a pay dispute with trade union Unite, whose members took strike action last week.
Now bus drivers in Rotherham are set to walk out again from tomorrow until next Saturday.
Stagecoach Yorkshire managing director Phil Medlicott said: “We can now confirm that the latest pay offer has been rejected and further strike action will take place starting this weekend.
"We have 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 with Unite. 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 different 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. It damages the lives of local people who depend on buses to get to work and access public services. It impacts local businesses struggling to recover from the pandemic, especially at this critical time of year. And it ultimately puts employees’ own jobs at risk.
"We want to work together with the union to reach a solution. But any aspirations need to reflect the fact that passenger numbers on the country's bus networks remain significantly below pre-Covid levels.
"Stagecoach has successfully agreed pay rises for thousands of other employees at depots across the country and we remain open to continuing discussions with the union. With the right constructive approach from the union, there is no reason why a resolution cannot be achieved in Yorkshire."
Strikes in Sheffield will run from Sunday to next Sunday.
Unite officials pointed out Stagecoach had made a £58 million profit in 2020 despite the Covid pandemic.
General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Low pay is the fundamental reason why workers are voting with their feet and leaving the bus sector.
“Stagecoach can afford to offer workers a fair pay rise but it has chosen not to do so.
“Our members employed by Stagecoach in South Yorkshire will have the total support of their union until this dispute is resolved.”
However, Unite has made the commitment that there will not be any strike action over the Christmas period so that passengers will be able to visit their friends and relatives.
If the dispute remains unresolved than strikes will resume in the new year, they said.