Suffolk bus strike threat

SUFFOLK is today facing the threat of a crippling bus strike after staff at First buses moved towards possible industrial action.Frustrated over an unresolved pay claim, staff say the company is three months late with its annual pay offer which should have been made in April.

SUFFOLK is today facing the threat of a crippling bus strike after staff at First buses moved towards possible industrial action.

Frustrated over an unresolved pay claim, staff say the company is three months late with its annual pay offer which should have been made in April.

Union official Les Shaw, of the Transport and General Workers' Union, said strike action was likely to go-ahead unless the management at First could come up with an acceptable offer.

He said: “We don't want strike action to happen.

“We hope they will meet with us and discuss the claim so there will be no need for a ballot for strike action.”

Some 900 First employees across the Eastern counties are this week voting on whether to go ahead with a ballot for industrial action.

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If the result, due to be known on Friday, is a yes a formal strike ballot would take place over a statutory 28 day-period meaning a possible strike would be likely to take place in August.

Suffolk was thrown into turmoil last September following a seven-day strike when pay talks between first Eastern Counties and union officials broke down.

Many people struggled to get to work with a vast number of the county's buses coming to a halt.

However a spokesman for First Eastern Counties said the company believes a deal could be reached and said representatives were willing to enter discussions with union officials.

First Spokesman Roger Haywood said managing director Keith Andrews was due to meet with union leaders today to propose a timetable for more detailed discussions.

He said: “The union wants a resolution of a pay claim and the company has a number of other issues it wants to discuss around the table.

“We want this to be resolved amicably because the company is doing very well and we want to continue with that.”

n How would a strike affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

WEBLINKS: www.firstgroup.com

www.tgwu.org.uk

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