First Manchester strikers on the picket line in July (Picture: Twitter/ Unite North West)

Strikes by 360 bus drivers at First Manchester went ahead last Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Monday of this week. The Unite union members were also set to walk out next Monday to Friday.

The strikes affected Rochdale, Oldham, Manchester and Ashton. The Unite union members rejected a 7.4 percent offer backdated to April. This offer included a further 3.4 percent in October and another small rise in January next year.

Strikers have already walked out for 13 days in July and five days in August. Bosses have some spare money. They are offering an additional £75 a day to those drivers who scab on the strike.

Some 1,000 Manchester Stagecoach workers who were set to strike at the same time as the First drivers suspended their walkout to consider a new offer from bosses.

Strikes planned by bus drives at First South in Solent have been called off for negotiations. The 185 Unite members were set to strike on Friday last week until Tuesday of this week.

But First South bosses have paid off the strikes with a £600 one-off lump sum while separate pay talks are ongoing. Unite shouldn’t have called the action off and until it was offered a proper pay offer.

‘Where’s the beef on pay?’ say strikers

Around 180 workers at the Dumfriesshire food manufacturer Browns launched the first of a series of strikes on Monday. Production, distribution and maintenance members in the Unite union rejected a pay offer from the company of £10.90 an hour.

The workers were set to be out for three days this week and the same over the next two weeks. An overtime ban is also in effect until 18 September.

The firm prepares cooked and sliced meats for a large range of businesses, supermarkets and schools. Browns Manufacturing Limited, which the company trades under, made a profit after tax of £5.2 million in the year ending 31 December 2021.

The company is part of the wider Browns Food Group which is owned and controlled by the Godfrey family. The wider Group recorded a profit of £9.2 million with £1.5 million paid out in dividends over the same time period.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said, “Browns Food Group, which owns the Kelloholm factory, is cash rich. It can well afford to give its workers a far bigger slice of the tens of millions it has sitting in the bank.


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