Outrage from bus drivers as Bee Network pays part-timers 50% more

New part-time bus drivers on Greater Manchester’s Bee Network are getting paid 50% more per hour than those on full-time contracts. 

The Bee Network hit the ground running last month, with the introduction of 50 new buses – requiring the need for more new drivers.  

But some of the existing full-time drivers have hit out after discovering new part-time drivers are getting paid £21 an hour, plus a £185 weekly bonus – while those on full-time contracts earn only £14.30 per hour.

Adam Street, 50, a long time bus-driver, said: “They hired drivers out of Newcastle to fill in the extra 50 buses that they announced.

“But while I get why they have done that, I just don’t think it is fair on the rest who helped build the network.”

Toby Brown, 55 – a driver on a part-time contract – comes from Newcastle and has been hired by TfGM temporarily. 

He said: “It feels a bit weird that I get paid so much more for the same work. 

“If I was in their place I would think that Andy (Burnham) has forgotten about me, and only cares about the image of the Bee Network.”

In September, buses in Greater Manchester were brought into public control for the first time since 1985. 

GM is also the first city to bring buses back under public control and will be swiftly followed by Liverpool City Region. 

While introducing the network, Burnham said: “It’s a taste of how, under this new system, customers will have a much better travelling experience, with their wants and needs coming first and foremost at all times.”

Previously, drivers have threatened strike action to fight for increased pay – those issues were quickly resolved. 

The introduction of the Bee Network didn’t come with a higher salary for the drivers who were already contracted. 

While speaking to Mancunian Matters, Adam said: “We haven’t discussed this on a union level yet, but I am sure it will be brought up at the next meeting.”

Transport for Greater Manchester said: “The Bee Network is the biggest change to public transport in almost 40 years, and has included more daytime and weekend services, including earlier, later and more frequent buses on some routes.

“Following contract award, [bus operator] Go North West has undertaken one of the biggest ever driver recruitment campaigns, providing hundreds of jobs.

“This recruitment process is ongoing, and to ensure the smooth running of Bee Network bus services, additional drivers have been brought in on temporary contracts to support the operator, and pay and conditions is a matter for the them.”

Photo: Shikhar Talwar

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