10/17/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/17/2021 02:43
BUS UNION RMT said that strike action on Stagecoach buses in the South West goes ahead tomorrow as part of the fight for pay justice for bus workers.
The union has warned that the failure to tackle poverty pay in the bus industry is brewing up a skills crisis which threatens the future of lifeline services across the South West.
The scandal of bus worker pay, where drivers earn less than £23,000 for taking responsibility for the safety of a packed vehicle and are left alone and vulnerable late at night, is sparking an exodus which will hit school children and the poorest in our communities hard.
The union has also reacted angrily by attempts by Stagecoach managers to try and link any pay deal to cuts to existing staff benefits, meaning that a pay increase would only be awarded with savage reductions in sick pay and other basic working conditions.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said:
"Tomorrows action by Stagecoach members reflects the growing disgust amongst South West bus workers at being kicked in the teeth on pay while inflation and wages elsewhere are rising steeply.
"When drivers and other staff, who are key transport professionals providing lifeline services, can earn more in supermarkets and fast-food joints it's no wonder they are voting with their feet in the current labour market.
"Instead of responding positively to the justified anger from their staff with a fair offer the Stagecoach operation has instead resorted to a gutter campaign of abuse against their workforce designed to provoke a public backlash. They could have made progress in talks on Friday but they point blank refused meaning the strike goes ahead.
"It's well established now that we are facing a shortage of bus drivers across the South West as staff leave over poor pay and conditions. It is ridiculous that Stagecoach have chosen this moment to hammer their staff over pay. The consequences for local services will be horrific.
"RMT is fighting for professional wages for professional bus workers and our members on Stagecoach South West are leading that charge.
"We have had no option but to take action tomorrow and the company should stop their attacks on their staff and start talking seriously about a just and fair settlement."