BUS drivers have vowed to continue industrial action after a day of strikes in Weymouth and Bridport.

While services were largely unaffected after First Dorset drafted in replacement staff, Unite, the country’s biggest union which represents the drivers, did not rule out further action if a solution cannot be reached.

The dispute centres on the pay of the drivers, currently on £8.30 an hour, compared with their regional colleagues, such as drivers at Yellow Buses in Bournemouth who earn more than £10 an hour.

Drivers also want the time spent behind the wheel in one sitting reduced from 5.5 hours.

Unite regional officer Bob Lanning said he was pleased with how the strike was carried out.

He said: “We had a lot of people cheering and waving as they were driving by.

“There was even stronger support in Bridport and I think overall virtually every single one of our members joined the strike.

“We’re glad the company managed to cover the school buses, as it is important to keep the kids in school.”

Mr Lanning said further strikes and other industrial action could take place if the company was not prepared to ‘come to the table’.

He added: “If this does not work then we will be back out on Wednesday, January 29.

Managing director for First Hampshire and Dorset Marc Reddy said the company was ‘happy to engage’ in talks with the union.

He added: “Our main priority is the customer and I am very pleased that we managed to offer a full service with minimal disruption.

“We are disappointed that the unconditional offer of a 1.5 per cent pay increase was not accepted but we continue to be open for negotiation.”

Staff including managers and supervisors were drafted in from across Dorset, Hampshire and Berkshire to drive the buses during the 24 hour strike.