Go North West service continues despite strikes

Temporary operators have been called in by Go North West to keep its network running during strikes.

The strike action has been taken by some of the operators’ Unite trade union members due to a dispute over pay and working practice changes.

The Go-Ahead-owned operator has brought in operators from across the region to run Covid-secure services. Unite has named two of the operators filling in as Selwyn’s and Belle Vue Manchester.

Frequencies on all Go North West’s 16 routes are expected to be at, or near, advertised levels.

Special fares of £1 for any journey will apply for passengers paying in cash, and season tickets and passes will be accepted as normal. Go North West’s network serves three major hospitals – Manchester Royal Infirmary, North Manchester General Hospital and Salford Royal Hospital, plus the Etihad Stadium, where well over 1,000 people are being invited to receive Covid-19 vaccinations daily. Buses also serve schools which are open for key workers’ children.

The dispute concerns proposals to modernise working practices at the Queens Road depot which have been put forward by Go North West in order to secure the future of 600 jobs by stemming the company’s annual losses of £1.8 million. Under a program called RESET, Go North West drivers are being offered £5,000 payments, plus two years of inflation-linked pay rises and guarantees of no redundancies in return for amendments to their terms. More than 80% of drivers have volunteered to sign up for these changes.

However, Unite has called the contracts vastly inferior. It has also attempted to get Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, to intervene in the dispute.

Go North West has assured that all temporary operators are experienced transport businesses which have carried out full Covid-19 risk assessments and are fully compliant.

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