Workers in every Stagecoach division in Scotland have supported taking industrial action in a dispute over pay.
The trade union has warned that unless there is a ‘significant shift’ in the Group’s pay offers across its Scottish divisions, then strike action by the end of October will be ‘inevitable’.
The workers involved in the pay dispute are drivers, engineering staff, administrative workers, and cleaners.
According to Unite Scotland, any industrial action will involve disruption to the COP26 climate change conference being held in Glasgow between October 31 and November 12.
However, Stagecoach has said that the strike will not impact Cop26 as First Bus is the main bus operator in Glasgow.
Dougie Maguire, Unite regional coordinator, said: “Unite has received a resounding mandate for industrial action across the whole of Stagecoach’s operations in Scotland. The results should really make Stagecoach sit up and take notice that their workers feel greatly undervalued, and underappreciated. The workforce has continued to work professionally throughout the pandemic and they have made a huge contribution to the massive profits of the Stagecoach Group.”
“We want to emphasise that Unite’s ambition has been to solve this dispute amicably, and without our members having to take strike action. Yet, our members have had no option but to consider walking because the company hasn’t done enough talking. The company needs to make a significant shift in its pay offers to end this dispute or industrial action in the coming weeks will be inevitable.”
A Stagecoach spokesman said: "Today’s statement by Unite is puzzling.
"Indeed, the union has just this week recommended acceptance of our offer covering hundreds of employees in the West of Scotland and the vote on the deal is taking place on Thursday.
"Separately, in July we reached agreement with the union covering around 400 of our people at depots across the North-east of Scotland. We also remain in discussions with Unite regarding pay deals for the remaining depots in other parts of the country and the union has not given notice of any strike dates, which is a legal requirement in advance of any action.
"We are continuing to work constructively with Unite to deliver proposals that are fair to our people, and which also ensures the long-term sustainability of the bus network for local communities at a time when passenger numbers are significantly below the level needed to cover the costs of running services."
The mandate for industrial action covers major bus depots including Angus, Ardrossan Ayr, Brodick, Cumbernauld, Dumfries, Dundee, Fife, Inverness, Highlands and Islands, Kilmarnock, and Perth. Stagecoach routes run across the Islands, and into all major cities and towns from Orkney to the Borders.
On Friday, Unite also confirmed that around 600 of its members in Fife, Perth and Strathtay rejected the latest pay offer from Stagecoach East of 2.4% backdated to May 2021 by 90%.
Stagecoach’s latest accounts reveal that the Group made a profit of £58.4m, and it has over £875m of available liquidity.
Unite has demanded Stagecoach meet its ‘fair’ pay claim of the Retail Price Index inflation figure (3.8% - July) plus 1%.