BUS drivers in Cornwall look set to go on strike after voting in favour of taking action over a pay dispute.
Members of staff at First Devon and Cornwall voted massively in favour of strike action in a ballot among members of the RMT union.
The ballot follows the rejection of what the union said was a long overdue pay offer. The company proposal is self-funding – meaning it would have no cost impact on the company and ring-fenced its profits.
It includes the loss of paid walking time, the removal of time to do a visual “walk round” check when taking a bus over mid shift and the dilution of sick pay benefits.
It follows the removal of the final salary section of the pension scheme, already implemented despite fierce union objections, the union said.
In this week’s ballot result RMT members voted by almost 85 per cent for strike action and by over 90 per cent for action short of a strike.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Today’s massive mandate for action by RMT members on First Devon and Cornwall buses reflects their anger at the failure to come up with a serious pay offer and the attempt to bind up what is on the table with a whole load of strings to make it self-financing at the expense of the workforce.
“The company must take this situation seriously and RMT’s executive will now consider the next move in this dispute.
“Bus services and bus workers in the South West are under a series of attacks as the companies attempt to ramp up and protect profits at the expense of their staff and the travelling public. Our ballot of groups of staff on First Devon and Cornwall buses draws a line in the sand as we fight to protect standards of living.”
First Group said it was unable to comment until it had seen the full details of the ballot.