WORKERS AT Stagecoach buses in Worthing, near Brighton, were set to strike on Friday of this week for better pay.
Talks between their TGWU union and bosses broke down at ACAS last week when the company refused to budge an inch from their previous offer.
Drivers have set six strike dates in January, February and March.
The dispute is over pay but drivers' anger has boiled over around a host of other issues, leading to a situation where, as one driver put it, "if management want to dig their heels in then we're going to dig our heels in too".
Just 90 drivers are currently running services that require 120. There are 22 "loan" drivers working from Worthing, with massive staff turnover. TGWU branch secretary Paul Cowell estimates that each loan driver costs the company at least £906 per week before travel and other expenses-adding up to more than £300,000 over the last few months.
Stagecoach fear a generous settlement in Worthing will encourage its other workforces in the region and beyond to follow suit. Chichester drivers start pay talks next week and other depots in East Sussex and Kent start talks at the end of February.
Worthing drivers' solid and lively strikes before Christmas brought management back to the table. Now Stagecoach is testing their resolve further-but workers are in the mood to fight and win.