Dorset

First Dorset bus drivers call new 24-hour strike

Bus drivers' strike
Image caption Drivers previously manned a picket line at the entrance to the First Dorset office in Weymouth

Bus drivers in Weymouth are to strike for 24 hours in the latest twist to a five-month pay dispute.

Members of the Unite union in Weymouth and Bridport voted to turn down the latest pay offer from First Hampshire and Dorset.

The walk-out will begin at 04:30 GMT on Wednesday 16 November.

The union said the three-year pay deal on offer addressed some of the concerns but there were still issues to resolve.

Overtime rates

Unite regional officer Bob Lanning said: "The outstanding issues are back pay, overtime rates and moving the pay anniversary start date back two months from August until October, which means the next pay deal will commence from October 2018."

First Dorset drivers in Weymouth and Bridport voted by a margin of "about 70%" to turn down the deal, worth 8% over three years.

The drivers held a series of strikes between 20 June and 11 September, demanding pay equal to colleagues in other areas as well as improved terms and conditions.

'Disappointed'

Unite said the latest offer would have raised the hourly rate from £8.80 to £9.50 - the same level as First drivers in parts of Somerset, although below salaries paid by some other firms in Dorset.

First Dorset, which ran emergency timetables during the summer strikes, said it was "disappointed" by the call for strike action.

Managing director Marc Reddy said: "As the Union itself publicly stated on Friday, First Dorset's offer met 98% of Union members' expectations.

"Considering how close the two parties are, this strike is neither reasonable nor proportionate and will achieve nothing except unnecessary disruption for our customers."

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