20 January 2014, 08:23
About 60 drivers at First Hampshire and Dorset will strike for 24 hours on Monday (20 January) in a dispute which has seen their pay fall dramatically behind their regional counterparts.
The strike will start at 04.30 on Monday, ending at 04.30 on Tuesday – and will cause disruption for passengers and school children relying on buses to get to school in the Bridport, Portland and Weymouth areas.
The dispute centres on the pay of the drivers, currently on £8.30 an hour, compared with their regional colleagues, such as drivers on Yellow Buses in Bournemouth who earn more £10 an hour.
The management has offered 1.5 per cent for April 2013-April 2014 which would take the pay to £8.50 an hour – however, the company wants to claw back that rise by eroding terms and conditions, such as reduced sick pay, so the deal is self-financing.
Unite, the country’s largest union which represents the drivers, said that the deal now on the table offered no back pay and management also wanted to start the pay year on 1 July which was ‘moving the goalposts’ by three months.
Unite regional officer Bob Lanning said:
“Our members are some of the lowest paid bus drivers in the country – 30 miles away in Bournemouth Yellow Buses’ drivers are receiving more than £10 an hour.
"They would like £9.00 an hour, without any strings attached.
“This is the first time that our members have gone on strike for 12 years at this company. They are being pushed against the wall financially by the cost of living crisis, which has seen household bills soar.
“The strike will cause disruption, which we regret, however, the ball is in the management’s court – and we are prepared to talk if there is genuine ‘new’ money on the table.”