THE recently announced strike action of up to 12 weeks by Go North East (GNE) drivers beggars belief.

It also demonstrates that the Unite Union has no economic sense.

The rejected pay offer of 10.3 per cent is more than 70 per cent higher than the current rate of inflation of just under six per cent.

The offer would increase drivers pay to £14.15 per hour so based as an example on a driver working 40 hours (excluding overtime possibilities) that’s a weekly wage of £566. So let’s say the strike action, of which two weeks wages have already been lost, lasts for a total of 10 weeks before it’s resolved, that’s £5,666 lost in total wages by each driver as an average.

How will they ever get back that amount?

The Union then compares the pay rate of GNE with those of Go North West (GNW) whose drivers receive £15.53 per hour but apparently fails to realise that these are two separate legal entities with different levels of financial performance.

I am aware that both companies are part of The Go Ahead Group but GNW is financially stronger than GNE and unlike GNE which in its most recent accounts to July 2, July 2022 made a pre-tax loss of £4.9m, GNW made a pre-tax profit of £436,000. In the world of business each company within a Group must be viewed individually, that’s why from time to time a conglomerate might close down or sell off one of its poorly performing companies to ensure the whole survives and prospers.

One could actually congratulate the past work of Unite in relation to GNW where the pay rates have risen on the back of profitable company accounts.

But this is not the case with GNE where trading results are much worse, especially in comparison to GNW which the Unite Union is itself using as a reference point in its pay negotiations.

I am aware that it’s the employees who’ve voted to take strike action, but this has been recommended by Unite.

That said, I feel sure that if the strikers realised the important differences in the financial performances between the two operations they would take a different stance, stay at work, accept what in the circumstances is a generous pay offer, not lose thousands of pounds in wages and keep the buses running in particular for thousands of workers and school children.

The strike action as proposed will not only adversely affect GNE but could have a long term detrimental impact on their jobs.

I am surprised Unite hasn’t realised this.

Ian Thompson, Spennymoor.