Bus workers suspend industrial action after improved pay offer

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Bluestar
The RMT called off the seven-day industrial action after an imporved pay offer

BLUESTAR bus workers have suspended seven days of industrial action set to start today (Wednesday) after receiving an improved offer in their pay dispute with bosses.

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Members of the RMT union in Totton, Eastleigh and Poole had been due for a week of working to rule by refusing overtime and rest day shifts until Tuesday 10th September.

But yesterday the union announced operations would be business as usual as it had received a better offer from management at Bluestar, part of the Go South Coast group, having turned down a previous deal.

An RMT spokesperson said that “therefore the union is suspending the upcoming industrial action so that the affected members can be canvassed for their opinion on whether to accept it or not”.

The offer involves a pay rise to £11.50 per hour backdated to 2nd June, and to £11.75 an hour from 5th January 2020, plus new overtime enhancement for the first eight hours of scheduled overtime and worked rest days of 50p per hour. There will be a review of the conditions in January 2021.

Andrew Wickham, Bluestar managing director, said: “I am pleased that talks between Bluestar and the union have been constructive and that there will be no industrial action.
“This is a positive sign that we can achieve a positive outcome for both parties.”
A number of Bluestar services link to Southampton from Lymington, the Waterside and Totton, and stop at Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst.
Drivers, cleaners and ticket office staff have previously walked out for two days of strikes in June.
Bluestar managing director Andrew Wickham had said the previous pay offer was above inflation. But it was described as “paltry” by RMT general secretary Mick Cash.
When the now suspended industrial action was first announced Bluestar said it did not anticipate it would impact services for passengers. Morebus is not involved in the dispute.
The latest moves in the bus dispute follow a four-day walkout also by RMT members on the South Western Railway network, which ended at midnight on Monday. That is over the future of train guards.
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