Bus drivers go on strike
9:42am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
Bus drivers in Falmouth said they were forced to take strike action today after becoming frustrated with their bosses lack of movement in a long-running pay dispute.
First Group has said it has offered staff a 7.1 per cent rise, with 3.9 per cent guaranteed and 3.2 per cent dependent on efficiencies and business improvements.
However, union leaders across Devon and Cornwall have dismissed the claim as ‘disingenuous’ and say the offered pay increase equals one per cent this year, and 2.6 per cent for the year from April 2013 to April 2014.
Striking workers were manning a picket line at the bus depot on the Tregoniggie Industrial Estate this morning.
Dave Letcher, a member of the RMT Union’s council of executives, said: “This is a long running dispute that dates back to when we should have had a pay increase in April.
“The company have said they have offered us 7.1 per cent, or which 3.9 per cent is guaranteed, but what was offered came with so many strings attached it would have been self funding.
“They wanted to change the sick pay scheme, and the walking time pay, it works out that what they have offered for the bulk of the staff is a 12p per hour pay rise from December 2, with the award of £100, which would be taxable, to make up for the money lost from April when the pay rise should have been made.
“That works out as a one per cent rise, which is effectively a pay cut.”
Mr Letcher said he hoped the dispute could be resolved quickly.
He added: “We are available for talks whenever the company is ready, we do not want to inconvenience the public, but the frustration that has built up to mean this was our only option.”
First Group have said they will prioritise school buses and the college shuttle bus between Falmouth and Tremough Cam,pus in Penryn, but other services would face disruption.
For more information, vist the First Group website.