Loughborough Echo

Bus strikes called off as firm agrees to offer pay rise

- News Reporter By SHANNEN HEADLEY

AFTER months of disruption to services and threats of strike action, Kinchbus has finally agreed to a £1,000 pay rise in the hopes of retaining staff - which means the planned industrial action has been called off.

The company, which said it was facing driver shortages due to a number of its employees leaving to drive HGVs, has now offered staff a 5.3 per cent increase, resulting in the cancellati­on of 11 days of industrial action planned between now and December 11.

The move has seen an increase to driver’s basic pay from £10.64 an hour to £11.20, adding up to more than an extra £1,100 per annum for drivers working a standard 39-hour week.

Staff will have their pay backdated to October 1, with Kinchbus also reducing the length of service required to reach the top rate of pay to just one year.

People joining the company will receive an 8.5 per cent increase to starting salaries, meaning drivers will receive £11 an hour instead of £10.14.

Kinchbus managing director Jeff Counsell said the pay rise is a bid to attract people to join the company as well as a way to retain staff.

He said: “The whole of the UK bus industry has been experienci­ng difficulti­es in recruiting, training and retaining drivers. It is impacting operators’ ability to run a full service. “This pay rise will ensure Kinchbus is an attractive place to join, to drive and to stay. As well as competitiv­e pay, working for Kinchbus brings many benefits such as a pension, training and discounts.”

The company reviewed its pay structure to address the widespread shortage of profession­al drivers in the UK’s workforce.

Mr Counsell added: “Our customers are not yet back to preCovid levels, but we want to thank our drivers for their hard work and we trust this pay rise is welcome recognitio­n that they are our most valuable asset. We would like our customers to be reassured that we are tackling the driver shortage, which will be resolved by our ongoing proactive recruitmen­t and retention measures and without the prospect of industrial action by unions.”

More than 50 Loughborou­gh drivers have voted to accept the pay offer, negotiated by Unite.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary said: “This is a fantastic victory by members of Unite.

“By standing together they have ensured Kinchbus tabled an inflationb­usting pay deal which was much improved on the initial offer.

“Unite is now wholly dedicated to defending members’ jobs, pay and conditions. That is beginning to have an effect, as the Kinchbus deal demonstrat­es.”

Kinchbus provides bus routes across Loughborou­gh and the wider region, including services to East Midlands airport, Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.

 ?? ?? GEAR CHANGE: Kinchbus managing director Jeff Counsell KINCHBUS
GEAR CHANGE: Kinchbus managing director Jeff Counsell KINCHBUS

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