Bus services in Hastings face severe disruption over the next month as drivers employed by Stagecoach threaten strike action over low pay. 

According to Unite union, drivers’ pay ranges from £11.10 to £11.67 per hour. The union has rejected management offers of increases between 2.1 per cent and 4.3 per cent, describing them as “unrealistic”. More than 250 drivers, based at Stagecoach’s Herne Bay, Folkestone and Hastings depots, have voted in favour of strike action. At the time of going to press, action is threatened for 12, 15, 19, 22, 26 November and 3 and 6 December. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Low pay is the scourge of the bus industry right across this country. Stagecoach made profits touching £60m last year and has £875m in the bank. Yet it cannot make a decent offer to its staff.” 

Regional officer Dave Weeks said: “Bus workers were rightly hailed as heroes during successive lockdowns. However, warm words do not pay the bills, and Stagecoach needs to reward its workers’ dedication with a decent pay award.”

Stagecoach South East issued a statement that the company has reached agreement with trade unions in most other depots across the country and there was no reason why that could not be achieved in Kent and East Sussex. However passenger numbers during the Covid era have been and remain significantly below the level needed to cover the cost of running services.

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