Isle of Man government terminates bus drivers' contracts
Bus drivers in the Isle of Man have been told they will need to reapply for their jobs, as the island's government looks to save £300,000.
The Department of Community, Culture and Leisure confirmed that 98 drivers had been issued with notices of termination for existing contracts.
Drivers have been offered new pay terms and conditions twice by the department but they have been rejected at ballots.
Billy Chestnut, of union Unite, said industrial action could take place.'Must be lawful'
He said: "There is a legal process to go through before any industrial action could take place.
End Quote Nick Black Department of Community, Culture and Leisure
I am disappointed that this step has been forced upon us”
"Very shortly there will be a ballot for industrial action and the members will decide what they want to do.
"Everything we do must be lawful. We would need to give the employer seven days notice of intention to hold a ballot and then we need to give statutory notice thereafter."
The Department of Community Culture and Leisure must save £1m in the current financial year.
According to the government the average salary for a bus driver in the Isle of Man is around £38,500.
Nick Black, the department's chief executive, said: "I have now given notice to all permanent bus driving staff of the termination of their employment on current terms and conditions.
"All drivers are being offered immediate re-employment on new terms and conditions, which are based on those that were recommended to them for acceptance by their union but were rejected at ballot."'Unsuccessful conclusion'
He added: "Following the unsuccessful conclusion of a third ballot of bus drivers on 11 October, the department had no other choice but to issue notices of termination of the existing contracts."
The notification period depends on length of service of each individual and ranges from two to 12 weeks, the department confirmed.
If the new contract is not acceptable to the driver, they will no longer be employed after their notice period expires. If it is acceptable, the new contract will come into effect the day after the notice period expires.
Mr Black continued: "I am disappointed that this step has been forced upon us. We have worked hard with the union to propose terms that tried to address drivers' concerns whilst meeting the department's budgetary objectives."
The two most recent offers were recommended to drivers by their union, but were rejected.