Travel disruption across Manchester as hundreds of First bus drivers go on strike

School services and the Yellow School Bus are amongst those affected

The Manc The Manc - 10th January 2022

Travel disruption is likely for many who travel by bus in Manchester on Monday and Tuesday as hundreds of drivers go on strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

Roughly 300 drivers for First buses walked out this morning and will remain on strike on Tuesday, as part of a union dispute taking place at First’s Oldham depot.

As a result, 28 school services across Manchester, Rochdale, Oldham and Tameside have been cancelled over the next two days. A further 18. commercial services have also been cancelled due to the strike action.

The drivers’ union, Unite, says that the bus company has not been ‘reasonable’ in responding to requests around improving pay. According to reports by ITV, the company’s refusal to backdate a pay rise to August has been a key sticking point.

“Our members have been hailed as heroes for working throughout pandemic but that praise feels decidedly hollow when First Manchester is refusing to make our members a reasonable pay offer,” said Sharon Graham, General Secretary of Unite.


According to the union, 300 drivers recorded a 99 per cent vote in favour of striking after last-minute talks on January 7 failed to make any headway.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) is attempting to cover some services, but staff shortages due to Covid mean that a number of services will not run on Monday or Tuesday.


First Manchester commercial services not operating

  • 6 – Rochdale – Kirkholt
  • 57 – Oldham – Rushcroft via Shaw
  • 59 – Manchester – Oldham
  • 81 – Manchester – Derker
  • 82 – Oldham – Sholver
  • 83 – Manchester – Sholver
  • 84 – Manchester – Uppermill
  • X84 – Manchester – Carrcote
  • 180 – Oldham – Greenfield
  • 181 – Rochdale – Manchester
  • 182 – Rochdale – Manchester
  • 184 – Oldham – Huddersfield
  • 348 – Ashton – Carrbrook
  • 350 – Oldham – Ashton
  • 408 – Oldham – Rochdale
  • 409 – Rochdale – Ashton
  • 425 – Oldham – Holts
  • 426 – Oldham – Fitton Hill

First school bus routes not operating

  • 708 morning service from New Moston (7.41am) to Co-op Academy Manchester
  • 775 morning service from Fitton Hill (8am) to St Damian’s
  • 793 morning service from Littlemoss (7.20am) to Audenshaw
  • 793 afternoon service from Audenshaw (2.50pm) to Littlemoss
  • 803 afternoon service from Mossley Hollins (3.10pm) to Oldham
  • 820 morning service from Darnton Rd (8.05am) to Copley Academy
  • 823 afternoon service from Bluecoat (3.35pm) to Dobcross
  • 825 morning service from Waterhead (8.09am) to Saddleworth
  • 829 morning service from Werneth (7am) to Oasis Leesbrook
  • 829 morning service from Werneth (7.30am) to Oasis Leesbrook and Saddleworth
  • 829 afternoon service from Oasis Leesbrook (3.50pm) to Werneth
  • 835 morning service from Sholver (7.50am) to Newman College
  • 835 afternoon service from Newman College (3.30pm) to Sholver
  • 836 morning service from Derker (7.58am) to Newman College
  • 837 morning service from Hyde (7.40am) to Longdendale High School
  • 837 afternoon service from Longdendale High School (3pm) to Hyde
  • 849 afternoon service from Oasis Academy (2.50pm) to Higher Blackley
  • 851 morning service from Guide Bridge (7.40am) to Gt. Academy Ashton
  • 865 morning service from Glodwick (7.38am) to Waterhead Academy
  • 865 afternoon service from Waterhead Academy (3.05pm) to Glodwick
  • 870 afternoon service from Mossley Hollins (3.09pm) to Carrbrook
  • 875 afternoon service from Radclyffe School (3.10pm) to Moston
  • 879 afternoon service from Royton & Crompton (3.20pm) to Sholver
  • 879 morning service from Moston (7.35am) to Radclyffe School
  • 879 morning service from Sholver (7.30am) to Royton & Crompton
  • 882 morning service from Shaw (8.13am) to Newman College
  • 884 morning service from Calderbrook (7.28am) to Kingsway Park
  • 884 afternoon service from Kingsway Park (2.50pm) to Calderbrook

First has apologised to customers for the disruption to services being caused by the strike action.

Ian Humphreys, Managing Director, First Manchester told the Manchester Evening News:” “We have been holding extensive talks with union representatives over the last few days and made every attempt to avoid industrial action, especially given the short notice this creates for our customers to make alternative travel arrangements.”

Unite has further strike action planned for January 18, 20, 24 and 26.

Feature image – Wikimedia Commons