BUS passengers in South Tyneside have been warned to expect disruption this week after a strike vote by drivers across the region.
Go North East faces three days of action on Friday and Monday, and on Saturday, March 23, after the rejection of a new pay deal.
The Unite union says it had tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a two-year deal on behalf of its 1,400-strong membership worth about 4.5 per cent.
And Go North East has pledged to minimise disruption, and is planning to run a number of skeleton services in South Tyneside on Friday and Monday, between 7am and 7pm – at discounted fares of £1 for a single journey and £2 for a day ticket.
Those services are to include the 27 Crusader, which travels from Newcastle to South Shields every 15 minutes.
Passengers are asked to check the Go North East website – www.simplygo.com – for regular updates on other services available.
A Unite spokesman said: “The company’s below-inflation pay offer means a pay cut in real terms when prices are going up.
“The drivers take home £240 a week; they are struggling to support their families, with some having to rely on benefits.
“We want the company to be successful, but the workers who make the firm a success should get their fair share.”
A spokesman for Go-North East said priority would be given to school runs and hospital shuttles.
He added: “Go North East considers the decision to proceed with strike action a matter of great concern, and we are doing everything we can to minimise disruption.
“We anticipate being able to operate a number of other services, and will provide a network of skeleton services across the areas we serve.
“Customers are asked to please keep checking the Go North East website or social network feeds for detailed updates.
“We will be e-mailing customers with details of a reduction in smart card ticket prices to compensate.”