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Bus drivers set to walk out in First Cymru pay dispute

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Regional bus company, First Cymru has confirmed bus drivers belonging to Unite union will stage a one-day walkout on Thursday 15 September in a dispute over pay – with further strike dates also threatened.

Bus services served from depots across South West Wales including Swansea, Ammanford, Port Talbot and Haverfordwest will be affected by the strike action.

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First Cymru say details of an “emergency timetable” will be announced in the coming days to cover the period affected by the industrial action. This will see supervisors, managers and support staff with the necessary qualifications operate some key routes on an amended timetable.

Parent company First Group has been hit by a series of strikes at its Great Western Railways subsidiary in recent weeks, as unions push for larger pay increases in the wake of the cost of living crisis.

Strikes will also affect train travel on Great Western Railway on Thursday 15 September – the same day as the First Cymru industrial action – with additional strike days on Saturday 17, Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 September.

First Cymru Managing Director, Jane Reakes-Davies said: “We can confirm that our bus driver colleagues have confirmed their intention to take industrial action including an overtime ban and days of strikes, after rejecting three pay offers following extensive talks with the senior leadership team at First Cymru.

“The final offer made would have seen the drivers receive an inflation matching 9.5% pay uplift along with backpay to April, with a commitment to enter fresh talks in advance of April, 2023. We are hugely disappointed and frustrated that, despite extensive talks and multiple ballots, and after trying to give our people the best possible rise the business can afford, we have not been able to reach an amicable conclusion to discussions.

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“Bus operations across the UK have been severely impacted by the pandemic, but there has been a greater impact in Wales than in any other part of the UK. The business has been struck by a change in travel patterns both during and after the Covid pandemic and although the number of people using our services is slowly increasing, it is still much lower than pre-Covid.

“We respect the rights of colleagues to take action, but in order to allow the business to recover from the pandemic, we need to work together, keep the wheels turning and make sure people can go about their daily lives without disruption.”

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