Bus drivers on the Isle of Man will be holding a ballot for strike action as the Manx government tries to slash drivers’ wages by up to £3,000-a-year.
Civil servants have instructed the employers, the government-owned Bus Vannin, to cut the budget for buses by £300,000, despite the fact that the self-governing Isle of Man is recession-free with an annual growth rate of four per cent.
Because the drivers refused to accept wage cuts, the employer has issued contractual notice of up to a maximum 90-days notice of termination of employment and a minimum of two weeks for employees of one or two years service which times out on 25 October to sign the new contract or have their jobs terminated.
The basic salary of the drivers - who number about 100 - is about £24,300, but can be boosted by overtime.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “The Isle of Man is one of the few oases of prosperity in the British Isles, but the Manx government is intent on aggressive salami slicing the terms and conditions of our members.
“Our members are realistic and are prepared for a fair negotiated settlement – Unite has even offered to go to binding arbitration with an independent third party chair, but that has been rejected out-of-hand by the intransigent employers.
“If the strike goes ahead, it will cause great inconvenience to the public, but our members feel that they have been targeted for pay cuts, while the civil servants at the government’s Department of Community, Culture and Leisure (DCCL), who are the puppeteers behind this, recently had a pay increase.
“The civil servants are not making any contribution to the cuts they say are needed – quite the contrary, they are expecting the drivers to bear the brunt – and this is unfair.
“We estimate that our members will lose between £2,500-£3,000-a-year – and this not acceptable to a dedicated workforce who have bills to pay and families to feed.”
Unite will announce the time table for the ballot at a later date.
For further information please contact Unite regional officer on the Isle of Man Eric Holmes on 07624 366663 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.