Employees of transport company First Manchester went on strike last Tuesday over what they call ‘serious breaches of longstanding industrial agreements’.
The industrial action was organised by the Unite trade union on 24 May over accusations that the transport company has not honoured a pay agreement reached in 2012.
Unite represents 700 workers at the two depots involved, the Oldham and Queens Road depots, and the strike will affect 49 services with 37 routes cancelled outright.
Unite regional officer Neil Clarke said: “The conduct of the management team is in stark contrast to the so-called ‘people values’ rhetoric that it espouses and incorporates into the company’s ‘vision and values’ publications.
“The message to the management is plain and simple: the agreements and procedures that all have signed up to must be honoured, adhered to and viewed as binding and not discretionary”.
First Manchester, who entered into talks with the union a year ago under the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), deny any wrong-doing.
Mr Clarke added: “It is with a heavy heart that our members have been left with no option but to strike.
“We regret any inconvenience and disruption caused to passengers, but they cannot and will not sit by and let their hard fought for agreements be trashed”.
A statement on the First’s website stated they had offered to hold talks with Unite, mediated by ACAS, on the proposed day of action, but this offer was rejected.
The company stated tickets for the affected routes which have already been purchased will be valid for an additional day, while season ticket and mTicket holders will have to contact First Manchester.