There is a window of opportunity to settle the six-week old Weymouth bus dispute as the parent company First Group has sought settlements in two other separate bus disputes in the UK.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said the management of First Hampshire & Dorset Ltd should take a leaf out of the books of other First Group managements in Glasgow and Leeds where progress has been made to solve two industrial disputes.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton will be meeting First Group’s managing director Giles Fearnley and regional director David Alexander at one of their thrice-yearly meetings in London tomorrow (Tuesday 26 July) - and it is expected that the Weymouth dispute will be raised.
More than 110 drivers, based at Weymouth and Bridport, who are the lowest paid in First Group across the UK, have been taking strike action since mid-June and Unite today (Monday 25 July) announced a further day’s strike from 04.30 on Monday 1 August until 04.29 on Tuesday 2 August.
Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “With good progress being made in Glasgow and Leeds last week, now is the time for the local Dorset management to show the flexibility to settle the Weymouth dispute.
“The window of opportunity is now open as the First Group management appears to be relaxing its previous hard line in other disputes.
“Now is the time for First Hampshire and Dorset bosses to grasp the nettle and negotiate so that the lowest paid First Group bus drivers in England receive a decent pay rise.”
Unite has about 18,000 members working for the company in the UK.
Unite has argued that First Group is a very profitable UK company and can well afford to be more generous to its employees in Weymouth and Bridport where the deal on the table is only 2.3 per cent over two years from August 2015.
The Weymouth and Bridport drivers earn about £18,300-a-year – or £8.80 an hour, while First Group drivers in Yeovil are on £9.50 per hour. Drivers working for rival firms in Bournemouth and Poole earn nearly £2 an hour more.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.