Bus drivers in Greater Manchester who transport the elderly and disabled have been are to take strike action in the first week of July

The Unite union, says they are paid incredibly low wages to do a physically and mentally demanding job. They provide an invaluable service, transporting the elderly, infirm or disabled from their homes across Greater Manchester to vital medical appointments, for essential shopping or for leisure and entertainment.

The union says GMAT pays the lowest wages of all bus companies in the region. Around 7,000 users depend on the service and Unite has encouraged the employer to come back to the negotiating table with improved terms above the offer made to date.

Currently drivers receive just £11.50 per hour.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “GMAT should be ashamed of itself this is a charity guilty of paying poverty wages to drivers performing a vital service to vulnerable residents across Greater Manchester.

“Unite’s unrelenting focus on jobs, pay and conditions means our members at GMAT will have the full backing of the union in their fight for a fair wage.

Following a successful industrial ballot, members will be taking strike action for a week from 1 July – 7 July.

Unite regional officer, Colin Hayden said: “GMAT is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and yet fails to pay its drivers rates of pay that others in the region earn. The board is made up of local, elected, Labour councillors, none of whom have been in contact with Unite. Their silence is deafening.

“Our members have been left with little choice but to take this action in response to such a poor pay offer and we encourage GMAT to come back to the negotiating table with an improved offer to avert strike action.”

A spokesperson for GMAT told the Manchester Evening News:

“After the initial pay offer of 4.35 percent was rejected by Union members, GMAT officers met with Unite representatives on May 29 and following discussions an improved offer of 6 percent was put forward. This offer would provide drivers with an hourly rate of £12.20 which is above the real living wage.


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