Unite urges employers to help end bus drivers dispute in Jersey
22 October 2012
Unite, Britain's biggest union, has called on Jersey transport to end its attack on bus drivers' pay if it wants to resolve the dispute which has involved unofficial action by drivers who face having either their pay slashed or the sack.
CT Plus, the new bus operator in Jersey, will be taking over from Connex in January 2013 but drivers are being asked to sign new contracts meaning having their pay cut by around £12,000 a year, or face the sack.
Unite has offered to help broker a deal between the bus drivers who have taken unofficial action. Unlike other parts of the British Isles, Jersey does not offer legal protection to workers' terms and conditions who are being transferred to a new employer. The employer's conduct in this dispute has been morally wrong, it has allowed loyal staff to have their pay slashed while the Jersey government has continued to drag its feet on introducing TUPE legislation in line with the rest of the UK.
Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: "Connex, CT Plus and TTS [Jersey Transport and Technical Services department] have behaved disgracefully, by forcing drivers to accept massive pay cuts or face the sack. Their approach is morally bankrupt and it is time they treated these loyal staff with dignity.
"If the employers can accept they are exploiting morally bankrupt legislation which offers employees in Jersey no protection when they are being transferred to a new employer, then Unite can help broker an acceptable settlement with the workers who have taken unofficial action. We urge the parties to accept our offer."
"With the Tories also attacking the rights of workers on the mainland, many bus drivers up and down the UK will be watching this dispute with great concern and send their every wish for an honourable resolution."
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, known as TUPE, is an important part of UK labour law protecting employees whose business is being transferred to another business. However Jersey has no TUPE legislation and workers in Jersey may have to wait until 2015 before these vital protections are introduced.
In the meantime, employers are taking advantage of a morally defunct law and the Jersey government which has consistently dragged its feet on introducing this legislation.
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors:
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.