Weymouth bus drivers to strike over pay dispute

First Hampshire and Dorset buses in Weymouth Image copyright First Hampshire and Dorset
Image caption First Hampshire and Dorset also contingency plans were in place

About 60 bus drivers in Dorset are expected to strike for 24 hours in a dispute over pay, according to Unite.

The First Hampshire and Dorset drivers will begin strike action at 04:30 GMT on Monday.

The union said it would cause disruption for passengers in the Bridport, Portland and Weymouth areas.

The bus company said it was "very disappointed" and urged the union and drivers to "pursue negotiations" rather than take industrial action.

First Hampshire and Dorset said contingency plans were in place to "minimise any possible negative impact" of the strike.

'Claw back'

Unite said the drivers currently earn £8.30 an hour, compared with their regional colleagues who earn more than £10 an hour.

It said the management had offered a 1.5% increase, which would take the pay to £8.50 an hour.

"However, the company wants to claw back that rise by eroding terms and conditions, such as reduced sick pay, so the deal is self-financing," it added.

Unite regional officer Bob Lanning said it was the first time its members had gone on strike in 12 years.

He said the union regretted any disruption the strike may cause and added it was prepared to talk if there was "genuine 'new' money on the table".

Marc Reddy, managing director at First Hampshire and Dorset, said the industrial action had come after "several months of discussions" about pay with local union representatives.

He added the company had "put forward various options" and added the 1.5% pay rise had already been "accepted favourably" by other employees in Dorset.

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