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Bus strike was protest at latest First pay offer

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

Striking bus drivers and workers show their anger outside Camborne Bus Station on Thursday.

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CAMBORNE Bus Station was picketed on Thursday by staff unhappy at wage negotiations with their employer, First Bus Group.

Workers have been offered a 2 per cent increase from December, followed by a 2.3 per cent increase from April.

However, they say the award should have been backdated to April 2012, when negotiations with First began.

Phil Bialyk , regional organiser for the RMT union, said: "This decision (to strike) was taken by the employees, not a militant trade union, but by ordinary people, ordinary workers, trying to make a living on low pay in Cornwall.

"To have the argument put to us that other people aren't having a pay rise is not a good one. That's just articulating the race to the bottom.

"Why should it always be the people on low pay, the people on benefits, all getting cut, while all the fat cats carry on taking their bonuses and taking their pay?"

Bus services throughout the county were disrupted on Thursday, although First bosses said more buses ran during this strike than during similar action which was taken last month.

First spokesman Chris Bainbridge said: "We're incredibly disappointed and frustrated that the union has called for this action for a second time despite an improved offer being put to the staff.

"We need to find a way forward. All businesses are under a great deal of cost pressure and we've explained that to the unions, but every offer we've put on the table isn't enough as far as the unions are concerned."

Services were back to normal on Friday.

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