Bus strike: School services not hit by First Cymru action

First bus
Image caption The Unite union had recommended that its members accept First Cymru's new offer

School buses in south and west Wales will be unaffected by Monday's 24-hour First Cymru strike, but passengers using regular services will be hit in a walkout over pay.

The action, from 04:00 BST, follows Unite members rejecting two pay offers.

First serves Bridgend, Maesteg, Port Talbot, Neath, Swansea, Llanelli, Carmarthen and south Pembrokeshire, including Haverfordwest.

It also runs Excel services and Swansea to Cardiff Greyhound coaches.

Swansea council said children who are eligible for free transport and have bus passes to travel on normal public service buses will have alternative transport arrangements made for them.

It warned any children without entitlement to free transport will have to make their own way to school.

Cath Swain, from the council's transportation team, said: "It's the responsibility of parents to make arrangements to ensure their child can get to and from school safely.

School bus services running on Monday (PDF) [9 KB]

"We'd strongly advise those whose children use public services operated by First Cymru to check with their school and to consider alternative arrangements on Monday, if needed."

The council's park and ride service is unaffected.

Neath Port Talbot council said many of its transport routes will be affected, while Bridgend council said other than school buses, it could not put on any replacements for others services "given the current budget".

Carmarthenshire council has emergency plans had been put in place.

A spokesman added: "We have been working hard since we were made aware of the possibility of a strike and have done what we realistically can to make alternative arrangements where possible.

"As a result alternative transport will be available for all but a very small number of children and students.

'Short timescale'

"We have also done what we can in such a short timescale to publicise the situation."

Members of the Unite union, who initially rejected a 5% pay rise over 15 months turned down a new offer last week.

Gareth Jones, from Unite, said: "Our members rejected our recommendation to accept the offer and unfortunately the strike will go ahead on Monday."

First said it was "incredibly disappointed" by the strike action and all First depots would be affected but added that contract school services will be unaffected.

"The drivers and engineers are striking over pay, despite very good offers having been tabled by the company," said First general manager Simon Cursio.

"The action that the union is taking will cause undue disruption to hardworking people in south and west Wales, who rely on our services to get to work, education and leisure destinations.

He added: "We would like to offer our sincere apologies to our customers who will be inconvenienced by the action taking place."

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