‘Invaluable’ Greater Manchester accessible bus drivers to strike over low pay

Around 7,000 Greater Manchester residents are said to depend on the service.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 10th June 2024

Bus drivers providing “vital” accessible transport services for thousands across our region are set to stage strike action.

Ring & Ride is known for transporting the elderly, infirm, or disabled from their homes across Greater Manchester to places such as vital medical appointments, essential shopping trips, or for leisure and entertainment purposes, and is widely seen as an “invaluable” service for people who find it difficult to use regular public transport.

But now, dozens of drivers working for the Government-managed organisation, who are members of the Unite union, are set to walk out at the start of next month.

The country’s leading trade union say these bus drivers take on a “physically and mentally demanding job”, but due to the “incredibly low wages” they are paid by Greater Manchester Accessible Transport (GMAT), they have now been “forced” to take strike action.

Industrial action is set to take place from Monday 1 July for a full seven days, right through until Sunday 7 July.

‘Invaluable’ Greater Manchester accessible bus drivers are set to strike over low pay / Credit: TfGM

Around 7,000 people across Greater Manchester are said to depend on the accessible transport service, but according to Unite, GMAT pays the lowest wages of all bus companies in the region – with drivers currently receiving just £11.50 per hour.

The union says it has “encouraged” GMAT to “come back to the negotiating table with improved terms” above the offers it has made up until this point, but no agreements have been reached as of yet.


“GMAT is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), and yet fails to pay its drivers rates of pay that others in the region earn,” commented Unite’s Regional Officer, Colin Hayden, ahead of strike action being taken early next month.

“The board is made up of local, elected, Labour councillors, none of whom have been in contact with Unite [and] their silence is deafening.”

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Mr Hayden says the drivers who are members of the union have been left with “little choice but to take this action” in response to what he’s referred to as “such a poor pay offer”, adding that he continues to urge GMAT to provide an improved pay offer so that strike action can be averted before it’s due to begin in a couple of weeks time


Unite’s General Secretary, Sharon Graham, added that GMAT should be “ashamed of itself” for the “poverty wages” it pays to drivers performing a “vital service to vulnerable residents”.

Featured Image – Picryl