A NEW pay deal has been agreed for Stagecoach bus drivers in Stockton and Hartlepool, bringing an end to industrial action.

Stagecoach North East has today welcomed confirmation that employees in the towns have voted to accept the company's pay proposals.

Read more: Fury as bus drivers paid '£1 an hour less' than colleagues 20 miles along the road

The pay offer had been recommended by the Unite union and comes after workers staged a series of strikes from November 8 after pay talks failed.

The company, which runs services across Teesside and Tyne and Wear, was criticised for paying a higher hourly rate at some depots, leaving others with less take home pay.

Steve Walker, managing director of Stagecoach North East, said: “We’re very proud of our team, who do a fantastic job in delivering vital transport connections for local people.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with our Unite local representatives that provides a fair deal for our employees in Stockton and Hartlepool and helps to secure the long-term sustainability of the local bus network.

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“We remain focused on delivering the best service possible to our customers at a time when there are challenges facing bus networks across the country as a result of the pandemic and other factors outside our control.”

Strike action that was scheduled for last Thursday, Saturday and Monday was called off to allow members to ballot on the improved pay offer.

Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham welcomed the new offer.

He said: “I’ve been clear throughout this dispute that Teesside bus drivers are worth every bit as much as drivers on Tyneside, and called on Stagecoach bosses to show they think the same by paying them equally.

“The outcome of pay negotiations between Stagecoach and Unite the union is not a perfect one, but it is better than that which Teesside drivers had been previously offered. I’m pleased that a deal has been reached and further strike action will no longer take place.

“I’d now urge Stagecoach bosses to work with the Unite representatives to close the regional gap in pay quickly and pay drivers equally whether they drive in Teesside or in the wider North East region.”

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