First Cymru bus strike vote on Monday in south and west Wales

First bus Further talks are set to be held later on Tuesday

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Thousands of bus passengers in south and west Wales could be left stranded on Monday after First Cymru bus drivers and engineers voted to go on strike.

The Unite union has rejected a 5% pay rise over 15 months.

First says it is "incredibly disappointed" but held talks on Tuesday in a bid to prevent action.

First serves Bridgend, Maesteg, Port Talbot, Neath, Swansea, Llanelli, Carmarthen and south Pembrokeshire, including Haverfordwest.

Start Quote

We have issued the company with a notice but the company and the union are meeting this afternoon with a view to try and resolve the matter”

End Quote Unite Union

It also runs Excel services and the Swansea to Cardiff Greyhound coach service.

Speaking after a meeting with First on Tuesday afternoon Gareth Jones, from Unite, said the union felt "significant progress" had been made and members would be contacted over the next few days with an update.

Before the meeting Allen Parker, service delivery director for First in Wales, said: "The offer that we have put on the table is a very good one.

"Industrial action benefits no one.

"Customers will be inconvenienced, drivers and engineers will lose pay for the days that they do not work, and the business will suffer as people will find other, alternative, ways to get from A to B."

Mr Parker said drivers currently earn about £20,000 a year, with some earning up to £27,000. Staff get 33 holidays including bank holidays and other benefits like free bus travel for themselves and their immediate families, reduced price train travel around the UK and access to discounts at some high street shops and leisure destinations.

Mr Parker said that with the bus industry already facing challenging times, the firm would expect staff to help grow the business rather than "undermining efforts" by calling a strike.

"We would urge the union to call off this action and once again consider the very generous offer that has been put to them," he said.

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