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'Put communities first and talk not walk' – Stagecoach Highlands to make fresh pay offers to Tain-based workers bid to reach agreement with Unite

By Louise Glen

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Stagecoach Highlands today confirmed it is to make a fresh pay offer in a bid to break the deadlock and reach an agreement with trade union Unite.

New deals will be put to Unite in talks next week covering employees at Inverness and Tain bus depots, as well as workers based in Portree, Aviemore, Thurso and Kirkwall in Orkney.

David Beaton, managing director at Stagecoach Highlands, said: "Buses are a lifeline for local people across the Highlands and Islands. We are committed to ensuring our people who keep our communities connected are properly rewarded, particularly after their contribution to the country over the past 18 months of the pandemic.

“We have worked tirelessly to protect the jobs of our people during the pandemic and done everything we reasonably can to hold constructive discussions with Unite to reach a sensible and sustainable pay agreement across our bus depots.

“We are leaving no stone unturned in a bid to reach a settlement. That is why we are putting a fresh pay offer to Unite in talks scheduled to take place next week.”

Bus services are facing a continuing challenging financial environment with passenger levels significantly down on pre-Covid levels. Passenger fares are significantly short of what is needed to cover the day-to-day costs of running services without Scottish Government support.

Mr Beaton added: “We would urge Unite to end the uncertainty for our people and the customers who rely on bus services.

“Strike action is completely unnecessary and would simply damage the lives and livelihoods of hard-working people, including our employees, as well as the region’s businesses. We would urge Unite to put communities first and talk, not walk.”

Unite the Union has been asked to comment.

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