Bus strike fear over canteen row

BUS passengers in Ipswich were today facing up to possible service cuts after drivers' union bosses announced there could be strikes over plans to scrap the staff canteen.

BUS passengers in Ipswich were today facing up to possible service cuts after drivers' union bosses announced there could be strikes over plans to scrap the staff canteen.

In a crunch meeting scheduled for tomorrow , union officials and Ipswich Buses management will sit down to discuss the issue, but if no resolution is found industrial action could be taken.

Staff were shocked to find out last week that their canteen was to go as part of a cost-cutting exercise at the company. According to union leaders, there was no warning or discussion on the matter.

Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson said there were plans to change the canteen at Tower Ramparts as a cost-cutting measure.

It would not be closed – but the catering staff there would be replaced by vending machines, cutting two jobs if the changes were implemented.

He said: "Over the last year we have faced severe cost increases, the price of fuel has gone up very significantly and we are having to look at all our costs.

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"We are meeting the unions to discuss the situation tomorrow but I can't say anything else until after those discussions."

One driver, who asked not to be named, said he felt there were several other ways the company could cut back if needed.

He said: "This is all about saving money, but there is money going on other things which are totally unnecessary.

"We were not consulted on this decision – we were just told it was going to go. Many of us are very unhappy about this."

n. What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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