First Dorset drivers based at its Weymouth and Bridport depots have started a five day strike which was still ongoing as CBW went to press.
The strike began at 0400hrs on Monday, June 20, and was expected to continue until the same time on Saturday, June 25. In total, 110 First Dorset drivers took part.
The Unite union claimed its members were angry with a 2.3% pay offer from the operator, while drivers in Bristol had been given a 13% increase.
The union said: “We appreciate that the dispute will inconvenience the travelling public, but the ball is firmly in the management’s court as they have steadfastly refused to rectify the pay inequality of our members over many years, compared with other First Group drivers across the West Country.”
In a statement, First Dorset said it was very disappointed that the strike action was going ahead, which followed a ballot among the business’s 120 drivers in which just over half voted to take either strike action or action short of a strike.
Marc Reddy, Managing Director of First Dorset, said: “I’m extremely disappointed Unite is going ahead with strike action despite our best efforts to try to reach a formal settlement through ACAS.
“This action is totally unnecessary and will cause great hardship to our customers who rely on our services daily to get them to work, to school or college, to attend hospital and doctors’ appointments or job interviews.
“We have drawn up contingency plans to operate services in the event that strike action cannot be avoided. In the meantime, I’d urge Unite officials to get back round the table and recommence discussions so that we can resolve issues and spare our customers significant inconvenience.”