Bus strike: passengers with pre-bought tickets can get a refund

Date published: 25 January 2022

Frist Manchester have confirmed that passengers who have already pre-paid for tickets can claim a refund or replacement on strike days.

No First Manchester services will run from the Oldham depot again tomorrow as a dispute between the company and bus drivers continues.

There will be a further strike next Monday (31st January), before action is increased in February with drivers refusing to work for three days each week.

A list of the services that are affected can be found here.

All dedicated school services are expected to run and details of routes can be found on the Transport for Greater Manchester website.

Ian Humphreys, Managing Director of First Manchester, said:

"The Company has offered a substantial increase to £13 per hour linked to the 2021 pay review. This is in response to the trade union’s request for parity with another large bus company in Greater Manchester and which we were advised met their aspirations.

“We have also included a lump sum payment as part of the new agreement and offered to equalise the rate for school bus drivers with that of local service drivers, which would mean an even greater increase for this group of colleagues. These offers have been recommended for acceptance by the trade union and we remain unclear as to the reasons why they have been rejected."

Unite The Union say their members are no longer willing to accept "low rates of pay".  They point to the profits of First Group -  recording an operating profit of £224.3 million in 2021 and it has accessible cash reserves of £776 million.

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts

Unite regional officer Dave Roberts said: "Strike action has already caused considerable disruption for bus passengers throughout Greater Manchester. This was directly a result of First Manchester’s refusal to make an offer which meets our members’ expectations.

"First Manchester can afford to make our members a fair pay offer but it has chosen not to. Further strikes can be avoided but it requires the company to put forward an improved offer and to return to the negotiating table.”

Customers with pre-bought tickets for both dates will be given a refund or replacement tickets to use for future travel. Further information can be found here.

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