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6:01am 15th November 2012

Unions say sorry to passengers, as Cornish bus drivers walk out over pay again.

First services are being disrupted on Thursday for the second time in a month.

Bosses say they are disappointed and frustrated.

But Phil Bialyk from the RMT says a new offer is not good enough: "That's why we've been trying for the last six to seven months to try to resolve this. We've had long meetings with the company. We want to resolve this. This is the last thing we want to do. We really do believe we have no option but to take this action.

"They're due an increase. This company is doing well, fares are going up, this company is a profitable company. They should reward the workers who actually bring in those profits for the shareholders and they should reward those people appropriately"

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

First said that it is running a better level of service than during the previous walk out on the 26th October. It said: "Early morning and afternoon journeys have been added to help people get to and from school, college and work destinations. School and college services, and the Park and Ride service in Devon are beign prioritised.

"We regret the disruption this industrial action is causing our customers. We will endeavour to keep people updated if the picture changes throughout the day via our website and our Facebook and Twitter accounts."

All services will return to normal on Friday.

As things stand First says it hopes to run the following:

In Cornwall

Contracted services to Truro College (ie all 900 services)

A shuttle bus service between Falmouth and the Tremough Campus - aiming for a half hourly service throughout the day if possible

Eden Rider service (includes Park and Ride and Service 101 from St Austell)

On Service 2, buses between Penzance and Goldsithney and back again. They will run hourly from 0945 until 1545, with the exception of the 1245 departure, when the driver will be having a break. In addition, buses will operate between Helston (Tescos) and Porthleven on an hourly basis from around 0900 hours, with a break at midday to allow the driver to rest. Buses will operate as close to the scheduled timetable as possible, although the last bus will be at 1358 from Helson Tesco, and 1429 from Porthleven

On Service 18, a journey from Camborne to Truro at 0727 hours, and a return journey at 16.05 hours. In addition, during the day (ie between 0900 and 1500 hours) an hourly service is hoped for from Truro to Camborne, with buses leaving both locations on the hour.

Service 18C from Mousehole to Cornwall College: operating the 0740 departure from Mousehole (The Coastguard) to Cornwall College, and the return journey at 1650 from Cornwall College - Mousehole,

Service 37/34: A journey to and from The Lizard and Cornwall College: at 0725 hours from The Lizard, and 1645 from Cornwall College  

Service 38, this Helston town service will operate between 1030 and 1430 hours, keeping as close to the normal scheduled timetable as possible between these times,

Service 39: A journey to and from Helston and Cornwall College: at 0740 from Helston and 1645 from Cornwall College,

Service 45: A journey to and from Camborne and Helston School: at 0745 from Camborne and 1530 from Helston School.

In Devon

A reduced Park and Ride Service in Plymouth (with buses running up to every 15 minutes, rather than every 7 minutes on normal days).

Service 2: Aiming for a half hourly service in Plymouth (City Centre - Mountbattern Pier via Plymstock and Hoe). This will operate every 30 minutes, departing city centre and Mount Batten on the hour and 30 minutes past. Between 1130 and 1330 the service will only operate hourly, this is to allow the drivers on the route to have the necessary breaks. The last bus will leave the city centre at 1800 hours.         

Service 86: A journey to and from Plymouth to Tavistock College:  at  0720 from Plymouth, and 1505 from Tavistock

Service 89, Tavistock town bus: hoping to operate the normal timetable throughout most of the day albeit with break around lunchtime to allow the driver to have a necessary rest period.  

All other services are expected to be severely disrupted.

6:01am 15th November 2012

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