Around 160 bus drivers at transport organisation Trentbarton in Nottingham and Derbyshire, who are members of the trade union Unite, are undertaking strike action today (Monday 10 September 2018) in a dispute over pay.
Unite members who work at Trentbarton voted 70% in favour of strike action, after rejecting the organisation’s offer of a 2.5% pay increase for the period of April 2018 to April 2019.
The dispute concerns the fact that Trentbarton proposed a 3.5% pay increase, which combined a 2.5% pay rise and the employer’s statutory 1% pension contribution, required under auto-enrolment regulations. Unite stated that pension contributions made through auto-enrolment should be distinct from annual pay, and not combined to present a more attractive pay package.
Scott Lennon, regional officer at Unite, said: “The management have muddied the waters by adding in their 1% auto-enrolment pension contribution to make the pay offer look much more attractive than it actually is. Our members would also contribute 2% of their pay towards auto-enrolment.
“We believe that pay and pensions should be decoupled as they are different issues; one refers to present day pay and the other towards retirement income.”
Trentbarton bus drivers plan to participate in further industrial action on 17 and 24 September 2018. Additional dates in October and November are also being reviewed.
Lennon added: “We are calling on the management to get around the table and negotiate in a constructive fashion to achieve a fair pay deal for our members.
“I appreciate that this industrial action will cause problems for the travelling public, but our members’ wages are lagging behind as the cost of living soars. The drivers have seen reductions in their shifts and potential earning capacity cut drastically.
“Our members are living hand to mouth and some are even having to use food banks, which is a disgrace for a dedicated workforce in 2018. We have been informed of at least five cases of our members who have had to resort to food banks to augment their poverty pay.”
Trentbarton is part of the Wellglade Group, which operates bus services in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire and South Yorkshire, as well as the Nottingham Express Transit tram system in Nottingham.
Trentbarton is unavailable for comment at the time of publication.