City buses face disruption after drivers vote for action over pay

Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company
Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company

Bus drivers - represented by Unite the Union and the GMB - have voted for industrial action over pay.

Bus drivers - represented by Unite the Union and the GMB - have voted for industrial action over pay.

Of 515 votes cast, 363 voted in favour of taking part in any action.

Martin Harris, managing director of Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company, remained hopeful of a settlement.

He said: "Pay negotiations have lasted several months in respect of an offer due to take effect last July.

"Despite an offer of 2.3%, plus improved Sunday and bank holiday premium payments, and a guaranteed minimum of a 2.5% increase next year, with an inflation index to protect it, we have been unable to achieve acceptance by a majority of those staff voting.

"In an industrial action ballot, 363 votes were cast in favour of industrial action, though it should be said that the total staff affected by the pay offer number 919.

"I value the important jobs our staff undertake, especially in the present operating conditions due to the Lewes Road works, but this is a more than reasonable offer.

"I remain willing to discuss ways of finding a solution with our trade union representatives and sincerely hope that we will be able to avoid further disruption of services to our passengers who have also had a lot to contend with in recent week."

■ Bin workers have agreed to suspend industrial action until the end of the year. GMB members working for Brighton and Hove City Council’s Cityclean division came to the decision after council agreed to review job descriptions by December 31. The long-running dispute relates to 38 lorry drivers, who want professional qualifications recognised when pay grades are evaluated. They want to be put on a higher pay grade than six street cleaning staff who now earn the same as them.