Stagecoach to move more than 50 jobs out of South Shields
Dozens of public transport jobs are set to be moved out of South Shields as bus operator Stagecoach North East transfers services.
Union representatives say the decision to move more than 50 jobs to Sunderland has left staff worried over the long-term future of the Dean Street depot.
The firm has confirmed it is in talk with unions about the proposed changes.
Unite’s Bob Bolam said the company was planning to transfer services including the E1, E2, E6 and X34 to Sunderland.
“Those are the flagship services,” he said.
“They are the things that make the money.
“If they go on to Sunderland’s books, then South Shields will have a hole to fill.”
The union is set to have a meeting with workers at the depot tomorrow evening.
“The reaction has been one of bewilderment, shock and anger,” said Mr Bolam.
“They are telling us it is to balance the books and that this is the best way they can do it.
Staff were concerned about the impact on the depot’s future: “If you give your best routes away, it is a struggle for the other ones to perform.
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“People are looking to the future and wondering how long has this depot got?”
The company was planning to move 55 of the drivers to Sunderland, along with about 20 buses, he added.
“Then there is the maintenance team down at the bottom of the bank – they will presumably have to go through to Sunderland to repair the buses,” added Mr Bolam.
“The question we have got is, how does that affect the running of South Shields?”
A spokesman for Stagecoach North East said: “We are not planning to make any significant alterations to our operations within South Shields, but restructuring some services which may be located to our other depots.
“However, this will not involve changes to our service levels and will not impact our customers.
“We will continue to provide the same level of service as we currently do within the local area.
“We are currently reviewing our services and working in consultation with the trade unions and, therefore, are unable to confirm any further details at this time.
“We can reassure our customers that any changes will not impact on service levels.
“The measures we are taking will reduce our overhead costs to ensure our services will become stronger and more sustainable.”