Bus chiefs in talks to avert strike
UNIONS and transport bosses were last night trying to thrash out a deal to avert a strike by bus drivers and engineers on Monday.
Representatives from the union Unite met with management at First Cymru's Ravenhill headquarters yesterday afternoon.
Drivers and engineers are planning to stage a 24-hour walk out starting at 4am on Monday in a dispute over pay.
The walk out will affect all First bus depots in South and West Wales and could, according to First, cause undue disruption and anxiety for people who rely on local bus services to get to school, work and leisure destinations.
Unite representative Gareth Jones, said yesterday's talks were being held to try to avert industrial action which he said was a last resort for drivers.
Mr Jones said it has been around eight years since the last strike action over pay and added: "The talks have been going on for nine months.
"We want the company to table an improved offer.
"The current offer is not enough to prevent our members taking industrial action.
"The drivers are fully aware of the consequences of taking industrial action.
"As ever, this is a last resort."
Allen Parker, Service Delivery Director for First in the West and Wales, said: "We are incredibly disappointed that the union has called for this action and that they are preparing to strike on Monday, October 1. The offer that we have put on the table is a very good one.
"It guarantees drivers and engineers a 1.5 per cent pay increase from October 1 this year, offers them a guaranteed 2 per cent increase from January, 2013, and gives them the potential to earn another 1.5 per cent increase from January, 2013, through efforts to reduce the number of staff and passenger injuries, and further improve driving standards.
"The targets that have been set are entirely reasonable; they are all about making the bus service better and safer for everyone."
Passenger Anthony Parry uses buses in Swansea, and the 63-year-old from Mayhill said: "I use the bus four times a day.
"I've got a disabled brother and I do a lot for him. I hope they can avert the strike action."
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