The Department of Community, Culture and Leisure says the decision to lay off around a hundred bus drivers at the weekend was the only way to break a stalemate in talks over terms and conditions. The drivers will now have to reapply for their old jobs – but the main bone of contention, paid lunch breaks, won’t be included in the new contracts. Nick Black of the DCCL acknowledged the move could lead to industrial action. But he says long-running discussions with the drivers and their union were getting nowhere.
Last week the drivers voted overwhelmingly to reject the new terms and conditions – despite the union leadership recommending the deal. The vote was an extraordinary 93 to 1, with no spoilt ballot papers. The bus network on the Isle of Man is run by the government owned bus operator, Bus Vannin. The fleet currently has 74 vehicles servicing a total population of 84,655