Dates for strike action against Go North East's decision to shut down a major bus depot in County Durham have been announced.

Unite the Union has revealed when strike action involving around 170 workers will start over the decision to close its Chester-le-Street depot.

It is understood the Angel 21 between Newcastle and Durham and X21 between Newcastle and West Auckland will be among routes affected.

Read more: Go North East strikes CONFIRMED over closure of bus depot in County Durham

In a statement, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham urged Go North East to reconsider its decision to shut, despite a compensatory package being set up.

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Drivers are set to walk out from 3am on Friday, August 12.

She said: “Unite’s members are making a stand for the local community.

"The closure of the Chester-le-Street depot threatens the employment of bus workers and will damage the quality of bus services to local areas.

“Go North East needs to withdraw its poorly thought out closure plans and enter into meaningful negotiations with Unite to ensure an improved service can be implemented.

“Our members at Go North East will receive Unite’s total support until this dispute is resolved.”

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In recent months, drivers hit out over the plans, with some raising concerns over the cost to relocate to depots as far as Gateshead, impact on family and personal lives.

Meanwhile, drivers raised concerns over the long-term costs to relocate, the impact on their family lives and the wider impact on services and economy in the town.

Unite regional coordinating officer Mark Sanderson said: “Strike action will inevitably cause disruption to bus passengers in the local area in the short–term but the long-term consequences of closing the Chester-le-Street depot are far greater.

“Go North East must return now to the negotiating table and  enter  into a full and meaningful consultation with Unite about the future of the depot.”

In response to the strike action, Go North East said talks would continue with Unite the Union in a bid to avoid such industrial action taking place.

A spokesperson said: We are aware of the disappointing ballot result for industrial action from local service bus colleagues at our Chester-le-Street depot.

"Talks with Unite the Union representatives are ongoing over the coming days to try and avoid industrial action which is disruptive for colleagues and our customers."

In an internal memo following confirmation of the strikes last week, the company's outgoing Managing Director, Martijn Gilbert, said the firm had attempted to avoid strike action.

It went on to say that strike action will "inflict further damage" to services, revenue and finances companywide.

He maintained that the depot "will be closing" due to a "business decision" previously set out, while saying that not everyone eligible had formally voted for industrial action.

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