Hackney Council’s school bus drivers plan more strikes after talks break down over split shift payments

The town hall's Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission heard from gangs experts. Picture: Ken Mears

The town hall's Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission heard from gangs experts. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Talks between a union and Hackney Council over school bus driver contracts have broken down, with more strike action now planned.

Unite members who drive disabled kids to school in the borough walked out twice last month over the split shift payment disputes. But strike action this week was called off ahead of talks taking place with town hall chiefs at ACAS on Friday.

The union says it followed written assurance that a review of pay and conditions would include “ensuring fair pay rates”.

But after a the meeting, regional officer Onay Kasab said: “It quickly became very clear the employer had no intention whatsoever to consider an increase in pay rates, thus making the talks pointless.”

Further strikes are now planned for next term.

The dispute centres on a £50 a week claim for compensation for the split shifts. Unite says it is based on the next grade in the Green Book national agreement which the union believes is the correct one for the workers.

Hackney Council insists workers’ contracts are better than they would be at other councils and says it cannot break its current pay structures.

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Families chief Cllr Chris Kennedy said: “The council agreed to offer permanent, in-house roles to a number of agency staff. We also offered to hold a review of pay and conditions, with a group of staff and representatives from the union.

“Unite has declined to take part in this review if the council cannot guarantee a pay grade increase at the end of the process.”

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