Bus drivers set for 24-hour strike as pay offer rejected
BUS drivers and engineers will strike on Monday after rejecting the latest pay offer from operator First Cymru.
The industrial action will run for 24 hours from 4am on Monday and affect services running from every depot run by First Cymru from Haverfordwest to Cardiff.
Union leaders met with First managers at the firm's Ravenhill headquarters for crunch talks on Tuesday this week to try to avert a strike.
The latest pay deal of a one per cent increase from January this year and 2.5 per cent increase from January next year was put to drivers and engineers last night.
Unite representative Gareth Jones today confirmed union members had rejected the deal and would go ahead with the 24-hour strike on Monday from 4am.
Mr Jones said Unite had recommended the drivers and engineers should accept the latest offer but understood their frustration and pledged support from the union for the impending industrial action.
He said: "This is a serious step for them to take.
"The recommendation came from senior shop stewards.
"Our members have decided not to follow that recommendation, which is their right to do so.
"We understand why they have rejected that.
"It is not a great offer but we felt it was the best that could be achieved through negotiations."
Swansea Council has ensured all contract bus services taking children entitled to free travel to and from school will be unaffected by the strike.
The local authority has also confirmed there will be no First Cymru services for children who do not have entitlement to free transport and who use public bus services to get to and from school.
First Cymru general manager Simon Cursio said: "We are incredibly disappointed that despite efforts and talks to resolve the current dispute with the Union representing drivers and engineers, the planned walkout of driving and engineering staff on Monday is still going ahead.
"The drivers and engineers are striking over pay, despite very good offers having been tabled by the company.
"The action that the Union is taking will cause undue disruption to hardworking people in South and West Wales who rely on our services to get to work, education and leisure destinations."