Ipswich Buses staff to strike over pay next week

Ipswich Buses and Unite call off strike.

Ipswich Buses and Unite call off strike. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Ipswich Buses staff are set to hold a 24-hour strike next Monday in a dispute over pay.

About 110 members of the Unite union are expected to stop work from just before 5am in a row over the starting pay for drivers.

Talks are taking place between the bus company and Suffolk County Council about school contracts – and there is also likely to be disruption to the Park and Ride service.

• Update - the bus strike has now been cancelled - see here for update

Ipswich Buses managing director Jeremy Cooper said: “Ipswich Buses has been negotiating with Unite and is committed to continue with those talks.

“But the union plans to strike on Monday. The company will be making contingency and intends to issue an emergency timetable this Wednesday (tomorrow).”

Unite regional officer Steve Linger said: “We apologise in advance for the severe disruption this will cause those who use the bus services in Ipswich and the surrounding villages in Suffolk.

“We are quite close to what we think is a reasonable settlement, but it will mean Ipswich Buses putting more money on the table. Unite is open for talks before the strike takes place – and urges the company to improve its offer.

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“All of our bus drivers will be striking in solidarity in this fight against low pay – they voted by a majority of 90 per cent for strike action.

“Driving buses is a highly responsible role and there should be a similar rate for the same job.”

The union said that two-thirds of the drivers have accepted the new pay rate of £11.00 an hour – up 18 pence an hour – for the pay year June 2016-June 2017 – but the dispute centres on the starter drivers who earn £8.66 an hour.

The union said the company has offered £8.81 pence an hour – but wants £10.00 an hour.

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