By: Dustin L. Gee
Last week, Stagecoach announced a strike set to take place by Stagecoach bus staff is over pay and will result in disrupting thousands of children and families across the Highlands and northeast Scotland.
Stagecoach is one of the largest bus operators in the United Kingdom, and offer countless express and local bus services across the country, as well as a network of intercity operations under the Mega-bus brand.
According to the Stagecoach website, “We connect communities in over 100 towns and cities in the UK, running a fleet of around 7,000 busses and coaches.”
The site then goes on to state, “Our services play an important role in delivering social inclusion, helping people in rural and urban areas access work, education, health, shopping and leisure, with two million passengers travelling on Stagecoach services every day.”
However, today’s strike by bus drivers may lead many customers questioning the loyalty and commitment of Stagecoaches mission statement. Especially since the Aberdeenshire Council told the BBC that “over 4,000 pupils would be affected, and Highland Council said several of the region’s schools would be hit by the disruption.”
A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Aberdeenshire Council’s focus is on the education of our children therefore our educational establishments will be open as usual. Parents were warned in advance of the industrial action and we expect them to make every conceivable effort to get their children to school.”
Public transportation authorities suggest that those who are directly affected by the bus strike should get together with neighbours and take turns car-pooling in order to get their children to school.
The BBC reports, “The firm urged Unite to call off the strike, and said that 150 of its engineering, administration and cleaning staff had already voted to accept a two-year deal offering a 9.5% pay increase – the same deal as the firm had offered to union members.”
A Stagecoach Spokesperson told the BBC, “We are extremely disappointed that some of our customers have been inconvenienced by this unnecessary union strike action, particularly families with young children who rely on school contract services in Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.”
Tomorrow should be better, but future strikes are planned for the 21st and 24th of November.