Trent Barton rejects ‘poverty pay’ claim as drivers strike

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The i4 is one of 11 services which could be impacted by the strikes. The service is expected to change its Optare Tempo fleet for new ADL Enviro200 MMCs this month. RICHARD SHARMAN

Industrial action took place on Monday, 10 September at Trent Barton, after Unite members at the company rejected a 2.5% pay increase.

Further strikes were planned for Monday, 17 September, 24 September and October 1 when CBW went to press.

In total, the company said 11 of its services could potentially be affected. These were the Calverton Connection, The Cotgrave, i4, Indigo, The Keyworth, Mainline, my15, Rushcliffe Villager, Skylink Clifton, Skylink Nottingham and the 18.

Trent Barton Managing Director, Jeff Counsell, said in a statement: “Trent Barton has a track record of improving pay for its teams year on year. For the past 11 years in total, Barton Buses Ltd drivers have received pay rises better than the rate of inflation. I’m shocked Unite has described our competitive wages as ‘poverty pay.’

“The majority of the Barton Buses team is on an hourly wage of £11.51 per hour with a guarantee of 39 hours per week. Our starting hourly wage is £9.34, with rises during the first two or three years of employment. All rates are significantly ahead of the National Living Wage (£7.83) and the ‘Real Living Wage’ (£8.75). Our teams also have the opportunity to volunteer for overtime, and those driving late night services earn £14.99 per hour.

“It’s disappointing that we find ourselves facing industrial action by some members of our team, especially given that we have a track record of improving pay above the level of inflation over the past 11 years.

“At a time when our business, like so many others, is facing tough trading conditions and increased costs, we believe our offer to increase pay by 2.5% to be a very good one and one which will be sustainable in the future.

“We hope our drivers who are members of Unite will recognise that industrial action will not help anybody – not them or their fellow drivers, not our customers and not the future sustainability of their employer.

“I offer a sincere apology to those who will be affected by the industrial action. I want to let our customers know that we’ll be doing everything we can to minimise disruption, and we’ll be working hard to keep everyone moving.”