A ballot for industrial action among First Eastern Counties bus drivers in Norfolk has seen 93 percent of staff vote for strikes. Drivers say they have now been pushed to the limit by their employers.
As well as affecting all First routes running from Norwich, Yarmouth, Kings Lynn, and Ipswich, the strike would also hit park and ride schemes.
One driver said, “This will have a big impact on the transport system. It will affect almost all of the buses in Norfolk. We will strike on a one week on, one week off basis until we have the pay we want.
“We will not stop until we have a pay rise of 6 percent with no strings attached. At the moment we have been offered a pay rise of 0.5 percent with no strings or 2 percent with strings. We also want our pay rise to be backdated to April this year.”
Conditions of the 2 percent rise included the ending of severance pay and paid breaks, and extending driving time behind the wheel from four hours 31 minutes to five hours 30 minutes.
Another member of staff said, “The last time there was strike action was in 2003. It went on for a week and cost First £750,000 in lost revenue.
“I am not surprised that it has come to this. The drivers mean business and they don’t want to be treated as a soft touch.
“They will not put up with this sort of treatment.”