Oxford Bus Company driver strike suspended after talks

Oxford Bus drivers strike
Image caption Oxford Bus Company staff went on strike for two days

Bus drivers have suspended planned strike action in a dispute over Christmas pay after "positive talks" with the Oxford Bus Company.

Walkouts took place on 2 and 6 March after talks between Unite and the company broke down.

Marie Hall, Unite regional officer, said fresh discussions had taken place, while the company said it was optimistic.

Strikes on 17 and 24 March have been suspended.

Phil Southall, managing director of Oxford Bus Company, said: "This is great news for our customers, and we apologise for any inconvenience that has been experienced to date.

"With the threat of strike action now removed, Unite and our management team can resume talks and I am optimistic that we will be able to reach a way forward soon."

Image copyright Oxford Bus Company
Image caption The Unite union represents about 70% of Oxford Bus Company staff

Ms Hall said: "In order to create an environment for talks to resume, we've suspended the strike action previously announced.

"We are confident that we can now get back around the table and make some progress."

The disagreement centres around bank holiday pay during the Christmas and New Year period.

The bus operator said it paid drivers premium rates for three bank holidays, but the union had asked for five.

It said the extra two days would cost it in excess of £100,000.

Unite said the two bank holidays are legally recognised, and the company was "salami-slicing" the pay of workers "in one of the UK's most expensive cities".

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