Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire bus drivers stage 24-hour walkout over pay

Bluestar Buses
Image caption Bluestar has said its above-inflation pay offer was "fair"

Bus drivers in Southampton and the surrounding area have walked out amid a dispute over pay.

The 24-hour strike by Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members coincides with a five-day strike by South Western Railway (SWR) staff.

Bus firm, Bluestar, owned by the Go-Ahead Group, said it had put a special timetable in place and would "endeavour to run as many services as possible".

It says it has offered staff an above-inflation pay increase.

Bluestar said it had been "inundated with tweets asking where buses are".

It added: "Contingency plans have been put into place, but we regret that some services will be reduced compared to normal."

During the morning rush-hour some services were reported to be running one hour late.

RMT, which represents about 45% of bus drivers at Bluestar, said the vote for strike action was backed by 87% of its members.

Regional organiser Mick Tosh said some drivers were expected to work "excessive hours" on a flat hourly rate and the firm had offered a 3% pay rise, worth about 31p per hour.

The union previously called for a "decent" increase as well as an enhanced rate for hours worked over the 40-hour contract.

Mr Tosh said the RMT "remains available for talks".

Unilink bus services are not affected.

The strike ends at 23:59 BST.

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