Norwich bus strike threat

Angry bus drivers in Norwich are planning strike action next week after claiming their managers have ignored their wage rise demand for more than 12 months.

Angry bus drivers in Norwich are planning strike action next week after claiming their managers have ignored their wage rise demand for more than 12 months.

They plan to strike next Monday, April 2, unless the dispute is settled, with last ditch talks arranged for tomorrow.

The drivers are employed by First Eastern Counties and say their wage claim has been pending since this time last year.

Almost 250 drivers from the Transport and General Workers Union are expected to take part in the action starting at 4.30am next Monday after a ballot showed 81per cent in favour of action.

It will involve all drivers who work from the Norwich depot and drive routes to many parts of Norfolk.

Ivan Crane, T&G Regional Industrial Organiser, said there was immense frustration that the company had so far refused to enter into meaningful negotiations over pay claim which was submitted last March.

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"Our members have shown extreme patience and will take strike action as the very last resort," he said. "We want to ensure our members receive fair pay and decent conditions for doing an extremely stressful job"

Mr. Crane said last ditch talks are scheduled to take place with First managers tomorrow and he expressed some hope that the company would come back from the brink and discuss the 2006 pay claim.

"Of course we apologise for any inconvenience to the travelling public but any blame for that we believe must be put firmly at the door of First Eastern Counties," he added.

EDP24 is seeking a comment from First management.