Talks to solve the pay dispute involving about 60 drivers at First Hampshire and Dorset, and Unite, the country’s largest union, will be continuing next week.
As a result, Unite has suspended the 24 hour strike due for Wednesday (29 January) to allow for the talks.
However, if the dispute is not settled by the end of next week, Unite has already given the company notice that there will be a 24 hour strike on Monday (3 February) that will hit the Bridport, Portland and Weymouth areas.
The drivers already held a successful a 24 hour strike on Monday (20 January).
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 than £10 an hour.
The management offered 1.5 per cent for April 2013 - April 2014 which would take the pay to £8.50 an hour – however, the company wanted to claw back that rise by eroding terms and conditions, such as reduced sick pay, so the deal was self-financing.
Unite regional officer Bob Lanning said: “To allow for talks to fully explore the issues involved, Unite has suspended Wednesday’s strike, but should the negotiations not reach a successful conclusion our members will take action again on Monday 3 February.
“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.
“Unite is entering these talks in a constructive frame of mind, but there has to be ‘new’ money on the table, as our members’ incomes have been really squeezed by soaring household bills.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.