BUS chiefs and union officials are back round the table to try and end the long-running dispute over changes to Bus Vannin drivers’ terms and conditions.
It comes after the majority of bus drivers voted to reject the latest offer, drawn up by both sides, in a ballot on Monday.
The ballot on revised pay, terms and conditions was conducted through the Industrial Relations Office.
Eric Holmes, regional officer of Unite the Union said that 79 ballot papers were returned out of a total of 103 sent out to members.
Of those, 23 voted in favour of accepting the proposals, compared with 56 against.
It means that only 29.1 per cent of balloted members, and 22.3 per cent of members who returned their papers voted in favour of accepting the proposals.
Related Article: Bus drivers reject latest DCCL offer
DCCL chief executive Nick Black said: ‘We are disappointed that bus drivers have rejected the proposed new terms and conditions.
‘The department worked hard with the union to present an offer that balanced the department’s need to make savings and the union’s wish to protect the interests of its members.
‘We believed that this had been achieved and were grateful to Unite the Union for encouraging members to accept the proposal.’
He said: ‘Discussions are ongoing with the union to identify alternative solutions that may be available and keeping within the savings that are required.
‘In the meantime, all drivers are currently working under new terms and conditions and these will remain in place ensuring that the department’s savings targets are met.’
Mr Black added: ‘The department is operating a vital public service in a challenging commercial environment.
‘Budgets are reduced and fuel costs are rising. Not only must we provide the best service possible to our customers, we have to do so within our means and deliver value to the taxpayer.’
Following Monday’s vote, iomtoday asked Mr Holmes what the next stage would be in the dispute.
Mr Holmes said: ‘The Manx Industrial Relations Service have stated they want to keep our option to ballot for further strike action open for an extra seven days while further talks are made with the workforce.’
It was the latest move in the long-running dispute over changes to Bus Vannin drivers’ terms and conditions, including the loss of paid lunch breaks.
Unite says drivers stand to lose up to £3,000 from their pay packets.
The first strike took place on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Christmas. This was followed by a half-day stoppage on January 17.
Trams and trains have operated as part of a contingency plan during the industrial action, which saw a temporary halt being built on the Steam Railway at School Hill, Castletown, for Castle Rushen High School students.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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