HEXHAM bus depot will be one of the many locations that will be affected in the GO North East workers strike over poor pay.

Over thirteen hundred members are to strike and bring bus services in North-East of England to a standstill after its members voted for industrial action over pay warns Unite, Britain’s leading trade union.

This is after Go North East drivers voted for strike action over poor pay, where the ballot was 98 per cent in favour of industrial action with an 85 per cent turn out.

It is claimed by Unite, that Go North East drivers and engineers have been offered a derisory, below-inflation, pay offer that included cuts to terms and conditions.

Whereas administrative and clerical staff have not had any pay offer at all.

Unite, also claim that Go North East can 'easily afford' to increase pay offers given the latest accounts of its parent company, the Go-Ahead Group shows bus group profits of £85million.

Depots that will be affected by any industrial action are: Consett, Gateshead, Hexham, Percy Main (North Shields), Sunderland and Washington.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Go North East should be ashamed of themselves. They’ve failed our members and are failing the public by not coming back to the table with an improved pay offer for workers performing a vital service.”

“Unite will be backing our members to the hilt during their industrial action and their campaign for better pay and conditions.”

Unite regional officer, Dave Telford, added: “Go Ahead can afford to pay their workers properly and fairly and are choosing not to.”

“They are now in the last chance saloon to come back to the table with an improved offer before our members head to the picket line.”

Go North East, the region’s largest bus operator, claim that they have proposed ACAS brokered talks with trade union, Unite, in a bid to prevent industrial action.

They claim that the company has made hundreds of its drivers an exceptional offer to increase pay by £2,400 per year. If the proposal is agreed payments will be backdated to 1 July.

Bosses at the firm have agreed to stick with an inflation busting pay proposal despite making losses of £4.3 million in its most recent published accounts.

If the proposal – which also involves some standardisation of working practices across its six depots – is accepted, drivers will also be guaranteed a further inflation linked pay increase next year.

Go North East business director, Ben Maxfield, hits back and said, “The two most talked about inflation measures, CPI and RPI are currently running at 6.4% and 9.0% respectively.

"Our offer of 9.11% beats both these figures and means our driver pay package will be among the very best in the region”.

Ben Maxfield adds:"Unite is claiming without any attempt at justification that drivers have been offered a below inflation pay increase.

"The bottom line is that this simply isn’t true, which means that Unite would be striking for something they have already been offered”.

No strikes dates have been confirmed yet.