Sheffield buses: First South Yorkshire in talks over drivers threatening strike action

Talks are taking place between unions and Sheffield’s biggest bus operator First to try to avert the threat of a strike.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 1:29 pm

Sheffield Trade Union Council has revealed drivers at First are calling for an official strike ballot because of concerns over the hours they are driving.The company has confirmed talks are ongoing with the union.

Martin Mayer, secretary of Sheffield Trade Union Council, said a ballot last Thursday showed 93 per cent in favour of an official strike ballot because of concerns over drivers having to drive up to 5.5 hours without a break.

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Why the Stagecoach Yorkshire bus strike was called off today
Bus company First is in talks to avert a strike in Sheffield. Picture by Chris Lawton

He said: “Drivers are fed up and leaving in droves – this is why there’s a 10 per cent driver shortage and consequent cancellations in bus services.”

Mr Mayer, a former bus driver at the company, added: “Bus users will be horrified to know that bus drivers – who are key workers – are being forced to work such long hours, This is a stressful job and it’s hard driving a bus for up to five-and-a-half hours without a break, often with no access to toilets.

“We are calling on First Bus to respect the drivers’ wishes to return to their previous scheduling agreement. This would certainly be a better way to rectify their driver shortage and restore reliability – which in turn would help build back patronage.”

It is understood a temporary suspension of local scheduling was agreed during the pandemic, but was due to end last month. It is understood that has not happened, leading to a ballot.

Nigel Eggleton, managing director at First South Yorkshire said the firm was in discussions with Unite on several points relating to drivers’ terms and conditions of employment.

He said: “One of the benefits and attractions to the job of being a bus driver is the flexibility and variety of shift patterns available to suit people’s needs. Within each shift, portions of driving varies from two to 5.5 hours driving to all corners of the city and its surrounding landscape which is another attraction to the job.

“We are very aware of the present circumstance as we slowly move out of the pandemic and get back to what will be the new normal, however, bus patronage has not returned as yet to the levels we experienced pre Covid with numbers averaging around 70 per cent of people choosing to travel by bus, which in its present form does not deliver a sustainable business model.

New bus drivers recruited to help Sheffield shortage

“As everyone is aware there is a national shortage of drivers, not just in the bus industry but also across logistics and retail/online delivery services which is also having an impact on our business. On a positive note, I am pleased to report that we have a flourishing intake of new recruits who are presently in our training school and soon to be released into service which will help with the situation.

“We have always had a strong relationship with our Unite representatives and I’m confident that we can come to a resolution to some of their points, we must all however be mindful that our main objective is the long term security of jobs and the continuation of delivering a comprehensive network of bus services for our customers.”

The following buses are cancelled today due to driver shortages

Stagecoach Yorkshire:

Service 25: 08:45 Bradway to Woodhouse

Service 88: 17.43 Ecclesfield-Bents Green- Ecclesfield

Service 52: 11.10 Morrisons-High Green-Morrisons

SL (Supertram link) leaving middlewood at 17.05,18.05,18.55

Stagecoach Service 52 will not be serving Badger Road between 09:00 and 16:00 due to ongoing re-surfacing works. Buses will be diverting via Beaverhill Road in both directions.

First Bus (Service number; From; To; Departure time):

76Arundel GateArundel gate08:09

X74Sheffield intTinsley Park08:10

95aMeadowhallWalkley08:28

X10MaltbySheffield Moor foot08:33

11ChapeltownHerdings08:46

20Arundel GateEcclesfield08:47

95aWalkleyMeadowhall08:52

83High StorrsArundel gate08:58

51Lodge MoorCharnock09:01

98Totley BrookHillsbrough Int09:07

82Snig HillMillhouses09:11

52aWoodhoue StationAdmiral Rodney09:12

120Flate stFulwood09:17

X1Sheffield Moor footRotherham Int09:17

81Snigg HillDore09:29

X54Sheffield intHarthill09:31

11HerdingsChapeltown09:33

82DoreHall Park Head09:38

32aSheffield intSheffield int09:39

24Woodhouse Cross StLowedges09:48

81MillhousesStannington09:49

120FulwoodCrystal Peaks09:49

120Sheffield IntCrystal Peaks09:49

24Arundel GateWoodhouse09:50

X5Sheffield intDinnington09:51

76Arundel GateLowedges09:55

11aHerdingsArundel gate09:55

95aMeadowhallWalkley09:58

51CharnockLodge Moor10:01

X10Sheffield Moor footMaltby10:03

X1Rotherham IntMaltby10:16

120Crystal PeaksFulwood10:20

52aAdmiral RodneyArundel gate10:22

97Hillsbrough IntTotley10:30

24Woodhouse Cross StLowedges10:33

29HarthillRotherham Int10:33

95MeadowhallWalkley10:38

76aLowedgesShiregreen10:38

82Hall Park HeadMillhouses10:44

11ChapeltownHerdings10:48

X5Dinnington IntSheffield int10:48

81StanningtonDore10:50

120Crystal PeaksFulwood10:56

24LowedgesWoodhouse Cross St11:00

X1MaltbyArundel gate11:00

51Lodge MoorCharnock11:01

27Rotherham IntCrystal Peaks11:20

95WalkleyFlat street11:24

120FulwoodCrystal Peaks11:25

X10MaltbyRotherham Int11:30

95WalkleyFlat Street11:42

24LowedgesWoodhouse Cross St11:45

81MillhousesAngel Street11:49

X5Sheffield intDinnington11:51

97TotleyArundel gate11:52

11AHerdingsArundel gate11:55

82DoreHall Park Head11:58

51CharnockHeeley Bank Road12:01

120FulwoodSheffield int12:01

24Woodhouse Cross StLowedges12:17

27Crystal PeaksRotherham Int12:20

76ShiregreenArundel gate12:21

120Crystal PeaksFulwood12:32

26Rotherham IntRotherham Int13:00

24Woodhouse Cross StLowedges13:02

82Hall Park HeadSnig Hill13:04

120Flate stFulwood13:15

24LowedgesArundel gate13:30

120FulwoodSheffield13:37

X5Dinnington IntSheffield int13:43

120FulwoodCrystal Peaks13:49

24Arundel GateWoodhouse Cross St14:03

24Woodhouse Cross StLowedges14:16

24LowedgesArundel gate14:16

120Crystal PeaksFulwood14:56

95aSheffield intWalkley15:27

24LowedgesArundel gate15:33

51Charlotte RoadCharnock15:44

95aWalkleyMeadowhall15:52

120FulwoodSheffield int16:01

51CharnockLodge Moor16:10

95MeadowhallWalkley17:03

51Lodge MoorCharnock17:10

X10Sheffield Moor footMaltby17:32

51CharnockLodge Moor18:10

95WalkleyFlat street18:14

95aWalkleyMeadowhall9.32

20EcclesfieldO2 Academy932

140Rotherham IntRotherham Int09:59

139Rotherham IntRotherham Int10:35

142Rotherham IntRotherham Int11:11

141Rotherham IntRotherham Int11:50

97Arundel GateHillsbrough Int09:58

98Hillsbrough IntHigh Street10:45

95aSheffield IntWalkley10:07

95aWalkleyMeadowhall Int10:32

95Meadowhall IntWalkley11:38

95WalkleyMeadowhall Int12:42

95AMeadowhallSheffield int13:48

X10Rotherham IntMaltby10:16

X10MaltbyArundel gate11:00

141Rotherham IntRotherham Int10:20

140Rotherham IntRotherham Int10:59

139Rotherham IntRotherham Int11:35

142Rotherham IntRotherham Int12:11

141Rotherham IntRotherham Int12:50

X10Sheffield Moor footRotherham Int10:32

32aSheffield intSheffield int10:30

32Sheffield IntSheffield Int12:15

208Sheffield IntMaynard Road14:05

X5Sheffield intDinnington10:51

X5Dinnington IntSheffield int11:48

X5Sheffield intDinnington12:51

X5Dinnington IntSheffield int13:48

51Arundel GateLodge Moor10:55

51Lodge MoorCharnock11:25

51CharnockLodge Moor12:25

51Lodge MoorCharnock13:25

51CharnockLodge Moor14:25

51Lodge MoorMoorhead15:25

97Arundel GateHillsbrough Int10:58

98Hillsbrough IntTotley Brook11:45

98Totley BrookHillsbrough Int13:07

97Hillsbrough IntHigh Street14:30

51Charlotte RoadCharnock10:59

51CharnockLodge Moor11:25

51Lodge MoorCharnock12:25

51CharnockLodge Moor13:25

51Lodge MoorMoorhead14:25

51MoorheadCharnock11:03

51CharnockLodge Moor11:37

51Lodge MoorCharnock12:37

51CharnockLodge Moor13:37

51Lodge MoorCharnock14:40

51CharnockHeeley Bank Road15:40

32Sheffield intSheffield int11:15

135Sheffield IntRotherham Int11:40

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