Unite the Union have said that 1,000 workers have already voted to go on strike from the end of the month, potentially posing more travel chaos for bus users in Ayrshire.

They say that workers in every Stagecoach division in Scotland have supported taking industrial action in a dispute over pay.

And they warned that unless there is a ‘significant shift’ in the Stagecoach’s pay offers across its Scottish divisions, then strike action by the end of October will be ‘inevitable’.

The workers involved in the pay dispute are drivers, engineering staff, administrative workers, and cleaners.

The mandate for industrial action covers major bus depots including Angus, Ardrossan Ayr, Brodick, Cumbernauld, Dumfries, Dundee, Fife, Inverness, Highlands and Islands, Kilmarnock, and Perth.

Dougie Maguire, Unite regional coordinator, said: “Unite has received a resounding mandate for industrial action across the whole of Stagecoach’s operations in Scotland.

“The results should really make Stagecoach sit up and take notice that their workers feel greatly undervalued, and under-appreciated.

“The workforce has continued to work professionally throughout the pandemic and they have made a huge contribution to the massive profits of the Stagecoach Group.”

“We want to emphasise that Unite’s ambition has been to solve this dispute amicably, and without our members having to take strike action.

“Yet, our members have had no option but to consider walking because the company hasn’t done enough talking.

“The company needs to make a significant shift in its pay offers to end this dispute or industrial action in the coming weeks will be inevitable.”

Locally, Stagecoach insist that they’ve had positive conversations with union reps and that in the West of Scotland the union is encouraging members to accept the pay offer.

A Stagecoach spokesman said: “The statement by Unite is puzzling.

“Indeed, the union has just this week recommended acceptance of our offer covering hundreds of employees in the West of Scotland and the vote on the deal is taking place on Thursday.

“Separately, in July we reached agreement with the union covering around 400 of our people at depots across the North-east of Scotland. We also remain in discussions with Unite regarding pay deals for the remaining depots in other parts of the country and the union has not given notice of any strike dates, which is a legal requirement in advance of any action.

“We are continuing to work constructively with Unite to deliver proposals that are fair to our people, and which also ensures the long-term sustainability of the bus network for local communities at a time when passenger numbers are significantly below the level needed to cover the costs of running services.”