Bus drivers on the Isle of Man employed by government-owned Bus Vannin have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action in the run up to Christmas.
The bus drivers, members of Unite, the largest union in the country, have been involved in a long-running dispute over Manx government’s attempts to slash drivers’ wages by up to £3,000-a-year.
The strike action by Unite members will be discontinuous consisting of a three-day stoppage commencing at 00:01 hours on Thursday, 20 December, Friday, 21 December and Saturday, 22 December 2012.
Unite members voted 90 per cent to take strike action over increased driving time and the reduction of contractual hours from 42 to 37.
Unite national officer for passenger transport, Bobby Morton said: “This is a serious step for our members to take – strike action is a last resort.
“Unite members are prepared to match any cuts in terms and conditions that civil servants at the government’s DCCL (Department of Community Culture and Leisure) would make to cut the deficit - yet they have not been asked to contribute - this is totally unfair.
“DCCL needs to stop burying its head in the sand and get back around the table to avoid causing massive disruption to shoppers and local businesses on the island in the run up to Christmas.
“Unless DCCL see sense and take part in meaningful negotiations, this action will go ahead next week.”
The origins of the dispute lie with civil servants at the government’s DCCL, which instructed the employer 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 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 ran out on 25 October - to sign the new contract or have their jobs terminated. The basic salary of the drivers is about £24,300, but can be boosted by overtime.
For further information, please contact Unite national officer, Bobby Morton on 07799 114236 and/or Unite communications officer, Karen Viquerat on 07768 931 316.
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.