Drivers who take children to eight Southwark schools for children with special needs and disabilities (SEND) have called off a planned strike after getting a pay rise.
The drivers, who work for HATS, had planned to go on strike next Thursday and Friday (July 14 and 15) over demands for better pay. Before the strike was threatened, the GMB union said that the drivers were paid £250 per week as a base rate, with a £50 per week bonus for a twenty-hour week.
The drivers had not had a pay rise in eight years, according to GMB. The union was demanding a twenty per cent pay rise.
Instead they settled for a ten per cent pay rise on drivers’ basic pay, with half the bonuses consolidated into this, meaning a £25 bonus remains. That means drivers will get £300 per week guaranteed, rather than £250 if they work twenty hours.
Southwark’s eight dedicated SEND schools are divided into four primary and four secondary schools:
- Spa School Camberwell
- Cherry Garden
- Newlands Academy
- Highshore School
- Spa School Bermondsey
- Tuke School
Stuart Fegan, GMB senior organiser said: “While this deal didn’t meet our full demands, the GMB was happy to recommend this to our members.
“The decision to set dates for strike action was a last resort option and I am pleased that this has been avoided through negotiation and compromise.
“These members did not want to go on strike as they know how valuable their work is to special needs children and their families.
“On the flip side of the coin though, that’s all the more reason why they deserve a decent pay rise – and for the first time in eight years.
“We have also opened up more effective communication channels with HATS which can only benefit everyone moving forward.”
HATS drivers take children to SEND schools in 28 out of London’s 32 boroughs. The company is based near Waterloo.