Bus strike action set to continue as pay offer is refused

Dorset Echo: PAY ROW: Drivers on the picket line in Weymouth PAY ROW: Drivers on the picket line in Weymouth

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.

Comments (2)

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8:31am Tue 21 Jan 14

MaidofDorset says...

The bus company has found the money to ship in drivers from London etc. and pay for their accommodation in local hotels but cannot afford to pay the same as other local bus companies?

By all means carry on and break the strike, but how many drivers will push off and work elsewhere?
The bus company has found the money to ship in drivers from London etc. and pay for their accommodation in local hotels but cannot afford to pay the same as other local bus companies? By all means carry on and break the strike, but how many drivers will push off and work elsewhere? MaidofDorset
  • Score: 2

9:23am Tue 21 Jan 14

Simon 1965 says...

Where will they go exactly?

Coach driving is a very different job, and traditionally even lower paid than bus driving - there are only two operators left locally anyway, Bluebird and Barrys.

The only other bus operators locally are the South West Coaches former Sureline base in Portland and the Go Ahead group`s Damory operation at Dorchester, both of which are low cost operations, that favour part timers.

Simon N.
Where will they go exactly? Coach driving is a very different job, and traditionally even lower paid than bus driving - there are only two operators left locally anyway, Bluebird and Barrys. The only other bus operators locally are the South West Coaches former Sureline base in Portland and the Go Ahead group`s Damory operation at Dorchester, both of which are low cost operations, that favour part timers. Simon N. Simon 1965
  • Score: 0

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