Go North East set for all-out strike

Written by on 24th October 2023

On September 25, a two-week strike by Go North East was announced due to driver protests about pay disputes.

“We’re sorry to tell you that Unite the Union has called a series of strikes at Go North East which are likely to bring many of our bus services to a halt on the following dates: 

  • Saturday 30th September – Friday 6th October inclusive
  • Saturday 14th October – Friday 20th October inclusive.”

Go North East bus – Credit: Alamy

In certain areas of the North East, only two bus companies, Stagecoach and Go North East, operate – meaning any pending strike action will massively impact travel for thousands of commuters across the North East

Go North East had previously gone on strike from 7 – 14 October, which led to significant travel delays of around 30-40 minutes.

Unite has called for indefinite industrial action from 28 October 

The employer’s failure to return to the table with an improved offer has led to the announcement of further strike action. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is appalling behaviour from Go North East. The parent company is awash with cash and yet it is refusing to offer our members a decent pay rise in the middle of a cost of living crisis[1].

The University of Sunderland’s bus service – Credit: Elif Gulmen

Paid dispute

According to the BBC, Unite said 10% was not good enough and workers needed a 13.4% rise. 

Unite Regional Officer Steve Cason said Go North East had “got its maths wrong“. 

Stating: “At the end of the day our people do a professional job and 10% doesn’t cut the mustard.” 

He also said the current rate of £12.38 an hour was not good enough for workers who do a “fantastic job“, also stressing that management need to “come to the table and deliver for these workers

The average wage for a driver at Go North East is £12.83 per hour yet drivers at Go North West earn £15.53 per hour.

This means Newcastle and Sunderland would require a pay rise of over 20 per cent to earn the same as those in Manchester.

This equates to a loss of £105 per week on a 39-hour week or £5,475 per year.

Go North East business director Ben Maxfield commented on the pending strike action “I deeply apologise to everyone in the region who will be affected by Unite’s strike. Rest assured that we will continue to work towards the quickest solution possible.” 

“This dispute and strike are entirely of Unite’s making. All we want is for the local union representatives to work constructively and collaboratively with us to secure the region’s bus services”. 


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