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Bus drivers to hold protest over working 14-hour days, but passengers will not be affected

PUBLISHED: 06:49 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:48 10 March 2020

Konectbus drivers are set to go on a strike through union Unite. PHOTO: IAN BURT

Konectbus drivers are set to go on a strike through union Unite. PHOTO: IAN BURT

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Konectbus drivers are set to hold a protest at Norwich bus station today over working 14-hour days.

The protest has been organised by union Unite and will take place at Norwich Bus Station on Queen's Road from 12pm on Tuesday March, 10.

The action is not expected to cause disruption to bus services.

The protest has been prompted by working conditions which sees drivers working 14-hour days and only getting a break of 30 minutes after five and a half hours work - the legal minimum - according to Unite.

As as result Unite said some workers have reported the working hours have taken a toll on their physical and mental health, as well as their work life balance.

They also said they have called on Konectbus to change the working culture for several months.

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Mark Walker, regional officer at Unite, said: 'Hardworking bus drivers providing an essential service to the people of Norfolk face long hours behind the wheel with very short breaks.

'This protest is taking place because it's time for Konectbus to respect the driver and address the problems of fatigue and exhaustion. Unite is determined to give our members at Konectbus a voice at work so they can improve their working conditions.

'Konect's parent company Go Ahead made £75.1 million last year, so clearly the funds are available to invest in better working conditions for staff. It's time for the company to sit down with the union to agree union recognition and negotiate working time which respects the driver and is in the interests of passengers.'

A spokesperson for Konectbus said the working hours put forward by Unite do not reflect the reality of the shift pattern the drivers work.

They added: 'Konectbus currently runs at an annual loss in excess of £500,000. This loss is absorbed by the Go-Ahead Group, which has continued to invest in equipment and people in order to secure a long term future for the business.

'We are happy to work with Unite on a voluntary recognition agreement, but we feel that there should be an ACAS ballot of our drivers to properly establish if Unite recognition is what most people in our company actually want.'

Konectbus provides links to towns and village in Norfolk including Dereham, Watton, Wymondham, Norwich and King's Lynn.


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