Today's 24 hour strike at First Cymru is hitting hard as drivers take action for a decent pay rise. One driver contacted this blog to explain why they are taking action today:
"I've been with Cymru for nearly six years and I've yet to see my P60 ever say I've earned £20k. The £27k that First are flaunting all over the news is rubbish – like the supposed £30k Aberdeen drivers earn.
"First need to come out of the dark ages and run the company like it's the 21st century – with 21st century rules and attitudes – not something akin to Henry the Eighth's reign.
"The 5% offer we rejected had GreenRoad* all over it with us having to hit targets to get an increased rate. There were also much lower pay and holiday benefits for new starters, and no back pay to January 2012.
The revised offer was 1% back dated and 2.5% in January 2013 and the new starter rates still applied. I'm sorry but new or not we all have the same licence and do the same job so we must get paid fairly and equally."
* GreenRoad (aka DriveGreen) is First's name for a program of surveillance and micromanagement of drivers. Under the guise of 'going green' and reducing emissions from buses, they use the latest technology to record, analyse and pass judgement on every decision - braking, acceleration, manoeuvring etc - that drivers make. In a rational world, this technology could have its benefits. But in the hands of your average manager, and your average company, its primary function is to extract maximum profits from the workforce.
Left with no other option
The South Wales Evening Post was also contacted by a couple of drivers who explained why they are striking. One said: "Drivers do take passengers into account during the strike but we feel we are left with no other options of expressing our feelings towards First Cymru in this current situation."
Another said: "I have a lodger in my house to afford to live. I know a few drivers have lodgers so they can afford to keep a roof over their heads. We are only asking for what we are entitled to have. We don't want to lose a day's pay but if it's the only way we can get the company to listen then we have no choice."