First Dorset bus drivers announce further strike action

Image caption Drivers manned a picket line at the entrance to the First Dorset office in Weymouth

Bus drivers in Dorset are to stage a further 23 day walkout, the Unite union has announced.

More than 110 First Dorset drivers based in Weymouth and Bridport are already in the middle of a five-week strike over pay.

Now Unite has said a further five weeks of action will start on 27 July until 3 September after talks to resolve the dispute broke down on Tuesday.

First Group has described the move as "thoroughly disappointing".

The drivers started their walkout at 04:00 BST on 20 June.

Image copyright First Group
Image caption The operator published an emergency timetable ahead of strike action

Unite said its members were angry at a 2.3% pay offer from First Group, while drivers for the firm in Bristol had been given a 13% increase.

It argued First Group was a "very profitable company" and could "well afford to be more generous to its employees in Weymouth and Bridport".

A First Group spokesman said: "We want to resolve this matter as quickly as possible but as we have previously stated, we are not able to agree to inflation busting pay demands which will cripple our local business.

"Our offer of a 2.3% increase over two years remains on the table, as does our offer to go to binding arbitration."

The operator said contingency plans were being put in place and an emergency timetable has been published.

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