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Bus Strike To Go Ahead

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3:14pm 14th November 2012
(Updated 3:14pm 14th November 2012)

We are warned to expect major disruption to Cornwall's bus services tomorrow.

Drivers are walking out for a second time as pay negotiations with First reach deadlock.

Chris Bainbridge, Service Delivery Director for First South Coast, said:

"We are incredibly disappointed and frustrated that the Union has called for this action for a second time and that they are preparing to walk out again on Thursday 15 November, despite an improved offer being put to our staff.  

"This action is deeply regrettable and extremely disappointing, not least because measures like this cause undue disruption and anxiety for hard working people, who rely on our local bus services to get to school, work and leisure destinations.  

"As a nation we are all facing tougher times. We have, however, offered the Union a good deal - guaranteeing staff pay rises from December this year and April next year - and yet despite this they are now preparing to strike again.

"The deal that we have put on the table is a very good one. It guarantees drivers and engineers a simple 2% pay increase from 2 December and a further 2.3% increase from April next year, with no changes to the terms and conditions of current staff. We will be writing to all staff to make them fully aware of the latest offer and encourage those who want to accept it, to do so.

"The pay offer on the table adds to an already generous pay and benefits package. On average our drivers earn around £17,000 a year with the opportunity to earn much more through overtime, and they also get a generous holiday entitlement, paid sick leave, access to contributory pension schemes, access to an employee assistance programme, 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 and access to other discounts at other high street stops and leisure destinations.

"Industrial action benefits no one. Customers are inconvenienced, drivers and engineers lose pay for the days that they do not work and the business suffers as people inevitably find other, alternative ways to get from A to B.  

"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 persisting with unnecessary strike action."

First said it remains committed to resolving the dispute and will do what it can to keep customers up to date with how the action may affect them.  

The company said it hopes to be able to run a similar, or better, level of service to that which it operated on 26 October.

That is to say in Cornwall it hopes, at a minimum, to run contracted services to Truro College, a shuttle bus service between Falmouth and the Tremough Campus and the Eden Rider service.  

To check services to Truro College, click here

In Devon the company hopes to run services to Tavistock School and a reduced Park and Ride Service in Plymouth (with buses running up to  every 15 minutes, rather than every 7 minutes on normal days).

All other services are expected to be severely disrupted.  

Up to date details regarding the disruption will be communicated via the company's website and via its Facebook and Twitter pages as soon it becomes available.  

In light of the planned action, customers who use First bus services are advised to prepare for significant disruption on Thursday and should consider finding alternative ways to make important journeys.  

Traveline, the organisation which provides independent travel advice, may be able to assist customers looking for information about alternative public transport options.

3:14pm 14th November 2012

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