|Strike action to affect local buses|
|News - Community News|
|Tuesday, 25 September 2012 20:06|
First Cymru has been informed by the Unite union which represents drivers and engineers that they will stage a 24 hour walk out on Monday 1 October (from 0400 hours). The walk out will affect all First bus depots in South and West Wales.
A First Cymru statement says:
This action is deeply regrettable and very disappointing, not least because it will cause undue disruption and anxiety for the many customers who rely on local bus services to get to school, work and leisure destinations.
Firsts management team has met with the union on a number of occasions and has offered its employees what it considers to be a very generous pay deal which, over the course of 15 months, would be worth up to 5%. It remains willing to talk to the union resolve the issue, but the company is clear that the deal on the table is a very good one, especially in light of current economic conditions.
Allen Parker, Service Delivery Director for First in the West and Wales, says: "We are incredibly disappointed that the Unite union has called for this action and that they are preparing to strike on Monday 1 October.
"The offer that we have put on the table is a very good one. It guarantees drivers and engineers a 1.5% pay increase from 1 October this year, offers them a guaranteed 2% increase from 1 January 2013, and gives them the potential to earn another 1.5% increase from 1 January 2013 through efforts to reduce the number of staff and passenger injuries, and further improve driving standards."
"The targets that have been set are entirely reasonable; they are able about making the bus service better and safer for everyone."
"The offer also adds to an already generous pay and benefits package. On average our drivers earn around £20,000 a year, with some earning up to £27,000. They also get 33 days holiday (including bank holidays), paid sick leave, access to contributory pension schemes, access to Share Save and Buy As You Earn saving schemes, free bus travel for staff and their immediate families, reduced price train travel around the UK, access to other discounts at other high street stops and leisure destinations, and free uniforms."
"Industrial action benefits no one. Drivers and engineers will lose pay for the days that they do not work, customers will be inconvenienced, and the business will suffer as people will find other, alternative, ways to get from A to B. In light of the fact that the bus industry is already facing challenging times, with millions of pounds worth of funding cuts, cost increases affecting all parts of the business and the recession impacting on the number of people using our services, we would expect our staff to work with us to grow the business and make it stronger, rather than undermining efforts in this way by calling for unnecessary strike action.
"We would urge the union to call off this action and once again consider the very generous offer that has been put to them."
The Unite Union stated: "We have issued the company with a notice but the company and the union are meeting this afternoon (Tuesday) with a view to try and resolve the matter."
Gareth Jones, from Unite who was speaking after the meeting said the union felt "significant progress" had been made and members would be contacted over the next few days with an update.
Any further information about any services which First Cymru will operate next Monday will be posted on their website.