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First South West bus drivers vote for strike action

RMT members at bus company First South West voted overwhelmingly for strike action over pay today.

Workers will walk out for 48 hours from July 23 after extensive negotiations failed to yield an acceptable deal.

The firm’s latest offer was deemed insufficient, particularly in light of First Group’s recent profit announcements.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members have sent a clear message to First South West: they will not accept being among the lowest paid transport workers in the region.

“The company’s offer to hard-working staff is particularly insulting given the huge payouts given to First Group boss Graham Sutherland.

“If First Group can find £800,000 in bonuses for top management, they can find money for bus workers.”

Mr Lynch added: “We call on First South West to return to the negotiating table with a meaningful offer that reflects the dedication and hard work of our members.”

A First South West statement said it is "disappointed" with RMT's decision to announce strike action in Cornwall and Somerset.

It said: “We have been working hard to agree a pay settlement and have already made a substantial offer of 5 per cent for all pay grades, which follows a significant pay increase of 17.6 per cent in December 2022.

“Discussions with the RMT continue and we are focused on trying to avoid any industrial action.

"We urge our RMT Union colleagues involved to halt the action and to continue to engage with us.

"In the meantime, we are concentrating on minimising disruption for our passengers. We will provide further updates over the coming days”.

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