THE bus drivers’ strike which was due to start on Saturday has been called off after a legal move by bosses.
As reported in Monday’s Chronicle Xtra, First Bus staff had planned a series of strikes with the first set for 11am - 1pm on Saturday (July 4).
But following an injunction, the strike has been called off and a crisis meeting has been arranged for Friday in order to reach a settlement.
“It’s great news,” said Ken Poole, managing director of First’s Potteries business.
“We put an injunction on them. There are ballot numbers and procedures which need to be followed.
“There is every chance it will harden people’s resolve but at least we can get talking again.”
Roy Dolan, Unite branch manager at First Bus, Station Road, Chester, confirmed the decision was made to call off strike action on Tuesday night (June 30).
He said: “It is because of a legal charge made by the company.
“The case was due to be heard on Friday but we decided to reballot and make a go of it. It was the simplest thing to do.
“We will be meeting with the company on Friday to try and reach a settlement.
“We didn’t want to put the public to any inconvenience.”
First Group has made a takeover approach for its main rival, National Express, which has debts of £1.2 billion.
National Express lost its contract to run Britain’s East Coast rail service this week, as well as announcing the resignation of chief executive Richard Bowker.
But Mr Dolan expressed his surprise that First were going ahead with the takeover.
“The company has no money,” he said.
“One wonders where they will get the money from.”