The RMT has confirmed two strike dates and further action short of a strike following a massive mandate from members in a ballot of groups of staff on First Devon and Cornwall buses in a dispute over pay.Relevant members are not to book on for any duty commencing between 00:01 and 23:59 hours on Friday 26th October 2012, and again between 00:01 and 23:59 hours on Friday 9th November 2012. Relevant members are not to work any unscheduled overtime or rest days between 00:01 hours on Sunday 11th November and 23:59 hours on Saturday 17th November 2012.
The action follows the rejection of this year's long overdue pay offer. The company proposal is self-funding – meaning it would have no cost impact on the company and ring-fences their 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 the sick pay benefits. This follows on from the removal of the final salary section of the pension scheme, already implemented despite fierce union objections.
In this weeks ballot result RMT members voted by almost 85% for strike action and by over 90% for action short of a strike.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “This weeks 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 fact that we have been forced to ballot and put this action on is solely down to the failure of the management side to understand the anger of their workforce. The company must take this situation seriously and get round the table with RMT to negotiate a settlement and the sooner those talks commence the better.
“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 the staff and that situation cannot continue. "
South West England Cornwall Green Left will be sending messages of solidarity to striking workers and where possible joining picket lines to distribute copies of The Eco-Socialist.