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First bus drivers threaten strike over plans to cut wages

The company outlines proposals after reduction in passenger numbers in Aberdeen.

First: Paid breaks could be scrapped.
First: Paid breaks could be scrapped. ©STV

First bus drivers in Aberdeen could strike over proposals to cut their wages and scrap paid breaks, STV News understands.

The company has outlined the plans following a reduction in passenger numbers across the city.

Under the proposals seen by STV News, wages would be cut, meaning drivers who have up to one year's service would be paid £9.50 an hour while those who have been working for more than four would get £10.85.

Paid breaks would be scraped, with drivers being offered a maximum of two that would be unpaid.

Drivers could also be on the road for up to ten hours each day while holiday entitlement would also be reduced.

Staff will be balloted on the plans on Thursday.

A source told STV News: "This is likely to lead to strike action within the next six weeks.

"The drivers don't want to go on strike, however, the compromising of safety by extending the driving time and the slashing of wages of drivers is going to affect their quality of life."

'The drivers don't want to go on strike, however the compromising of safety by extending the driving time and the slashing of wages of drivers is going to affect their quality of life.'
STV News source

Willie Wallace, of Unite the Union,said: "The strike isn't impossible. We will be balloting on the proposals later this week. We will then feedback the result. I can't rule out it may lead to industrial action.

"Pay is being cut, the day is being spread over a longer time and their breaks would be affected. The consensus is drivers are not happy at all.

"We are duty bound to ballot them on the proposals on Thursday, with the results on Friday. We could be in a dispute situation depending on the results."

In his letter outlining the final proposals, managing director for First Aberdeen Andrew Jarvis said: "The business can no longer sustain the high costs associated with the current terms and conditions of employment for bus drivers and trainee bus drivers and it is necessary for us to act now to protect the future viability of the business."

He added: "The downturn in the local economy and falling revenue on some routes means the current financial position cannot be maintained.

"It is crucial that we revise our operational costs to make the business sustainable into the future.

"We have entered into constructive dialogue with trade union representatives over the new package."

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