Bus firm faces a walkout over ‘Victorian conditions’

Stagecoach Devon faces a mass walkout by staff if it does not bow to union
pressure to end ‘Victorian pay and conditions’.

An RMT strike ballot of 700 driving, admin, cleaning and engineering staff
is scheduled for the second half of June, with the result expected early in
July.

Union members at the bus company are seeking a 10 per cent increase in pay
rates, to bring the driver’s rate up to £6.50 an hour, with other staff
receiving a pro rata rise. Stagecoach is offering 3.2 per cent.

Chris Hilditch, managing director at Stagecoach Devon, said employees
received a 10.2 per cent pay increase last year. He added that while the
headline pay rate did not look good, staff received five days more holiday than
higher paid colleagues and paid meal breaks – equivalent to a 7 per cent wage
increase.

"The union’s view seems to be that we should give them all our profits.
Their demands are so far out of our range, short of wholesale restructuring, we
won’t get near their claims," he said.

However, Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, claimed Stagecoach Devon
had strung union negotiators along since April and now members had lost
patience. "Staff simply want an end to Victorian pay and conditions,"
he said.

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