Strikes taking toll on drivers – union

Bobby Morton, of Unite the Union

Bobby Morton, of Unite the Union

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Bus drivers want to go on strike again but have been advised by their union to hold back because of the toll it is taking on them.

The drivers - who last went on strike during the TT – have been given an extension until the end of this week to accept the latest non-negotiable offer.

But the Unite union insists the offer is not new and there is no point in balloting members on it as it has been rejected once before.

Bobby Morton, Unite’s national officer for public transport, said: ‘Our members want another go at industrial action but it is taking a lot out of them mentally, physically and in their pockets.

‘I have advised them to hold back. There will be further industrial action – when the drivers decided to do it.’

He said drivers would be balloted before any further strike action could take place.

Meanwhile, lawyers acting for both sides in the long-running dispute have been preparing for test cases in a mass employment tribunal claim.

A total of 63 drivers are claiming for unfair dismissal over changes to their terms and conditions including the loss of paid lunch breaks. Statements have been taken from all drivers and the case is due to be heard shortly.

Mr Morton said: ‘The two sides’ legal departments were told by the tribunal chairman to find a solution. The department rather than Bus Vannin tabled an offer but to the best of my knowledge this had already been put to the drivers and rejected. It was same offer. The offer was supposed to close at the end of July but our lawyers asked for it to be kept open for another month. There is no need to ballot members as it has been rejected once before.’

The Unite offer said the union will be asking Department of Community, Culture and Leisure to put its books in front of the tribunal.

‘We want to see the figures as the department appears to be able to spend a lot of money on the railway section for new things like the new dining carriage,’ he said.

The employment tribunal has ruled it has no jurisdiction to hear the claim of 23 of the drivers who alleged unlawful deduction of their wages after being locked out by Bus Vannin management during a strike.

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