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Wildcat bus drivers strike in Jersey, UK planned for Monday 8/10/12

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simlrh
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Oct 6 2012 14:08
Wildcat bus drivers strike in Jersey, UK planned for Monday 8/10/12

Report on a planned wildcat strike on Monday, as reported in the local paper, which doesn't have full articles online, but here's a summary: thisisjersey.com/news/2012/10/06/unofficial-strike-could-disrupt-monday-bus-services/

Seems like they're Unite members who have called an unofficial strike, although the article only reports their motivations as summarised by their bosses.

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'Wildcat bus strike could hit schools'

Senior bus drivers earning up to £60,000-a-year because of overtime are leading unofficial strike action that could knock out bus services across the Island on Monday and disrupt schools if it goes ahead, it has been claimed.

The wildcat action, which is illegal because drivers have not given enough warning of the plans to strike, follows weeks of animosity between Unite the union and Transport and Technical Services.

The dispute is over fears that employees will have to sign contracts on different terms when the new bus operator, CT Plus, takes over in January.

If it goes ahead as planned all bus services across the Island, including school buses, would be cancelled, causing widespread travel disruption and forcing thousands of parents to make alternative arrangements.

The Education department has warned parents to have a back-up plan for getting their children to school in the event that the strike goes ahead and urged them to contact their school if they have problems. Parents were also urged to check for upates with the local media, a request echoed by Transport.

Tristen Dodd, of Transport, said: 'At the moment there is potential for unofficial industrial action on Monday and we understand from Connex there may well be a strike and no school buses or service buses would run. So people should follow the media and make arrangements in case there aren't any buses.'

The action is understood to be unofficial and therefore taken by workers themselves and not the union directly.

However, the ongoing dispute between Unites and Transport provides the backdrop for the move.

The union, which represents Connex staff, has accused Transport of going back on an agreement to ensure a seamless transfer of workers between the two companies. However, the department says that all Connex staff are being offered the same terms and conditions, including basic pay packets that are the same or better than currently.

In addition, because of health and safety concerns and good practice Transport has included a clause in the new bus contract that employees can only work a maximum of 54 hours per week - 15 hours more than their basic week but significantly less than some drivers are currently working in overtime.

My Dodd said that the move had angered a 'small core' of senior bus drivers. He described them as the 'power base' within the union leading the strike.

He said 'What is (the strike action) is really about is overtime. At the moment there is a small core of drivers which secure all the overtime within Connex.

'They ear between £55,000 and £60,000 a year but they do that by working excessive hours. The CT Plus offer is very reasonable and based on the same substantive terms and conditions, with drivers getting around £40,000 a year, and those drivers will be losing £15,000-plus in terms of overtime.

'But overtime isn't a term and condition, and the minister is required to use reasonable endeavours to facilitate the transition of staff to the new operator on existing terms, and that is what the minister is endeavouring to do.'

Connex managing director Eric Le Roux apologised to customers who could be affected by the Strike and said he did not support the strike action.

'I cannot support the strike action. I think strike action is very detrimental for everybody and especially for the public.

'I am thinking of all our regular passengers and the students and schools who may suffer because of this action and I hope that we can find a way around it.', he said.