HUNDREDS of bus drivers and other workers will stage a series of strikes in a row over pay.

Members of Unite employed by Stagecoach in Merseyside will walk out on July 4, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 28 and 29.

The company runs some services in the borough, including some of the buses between Liverpool and St Helens.

Matt Davies, managing director at Stagecoach Merseyside, said: “Bus users will be angered that the bus services that they depend on to access work, education, the high street, and keep in touch with their families are being deliberately targeted by the union in this way.

“The fact is that even in these difficult times, we have offered a substantial pay increase of more than 10 per cent to our employees that would make them the highest paid bus drivers in Merseyside from July.

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“They would also continue to benefit from more generous holiday entitlement and other benefits than other local bus workers with whom they want parity.

“The two recent pay deals we offered were both supported by the union, so it is puzzling that it believes hurting local communities by strike action is now the way forward.

“We are absolutely committed to securing the best deal possible for our people, but we have to think about the future of the bus network and the implications that higher pay demands have on the cost and scope of the services we can offer to our local communities.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Stagecoach makes money hand over fist. Our members are making it abundantly clear that they will not accept being underpaid by this wealthy company any longer.

“Stagecoach can easily afford to pay its workers a decent wage but its repeated refusal to do so is why these strikes will go ahead.

“Our members at Stagecoach will receive the union’s complete support until this dispute is resolved.”