Bus drivers on the Isle of Man will be soon be balloting for strike action as the Manx government tries to slash drivers’ wages by up to £3,000 a year. Civil servants have instructed the employers, the government-owned Bus Vannin, to cut the budget for buses by £300,000, despite the fact that the self-governing Isle of Man is recession-free with an annual growth rate of four per cent.
After the drivers refused to accept the wage cut, the employer laid them off the week before last – and said they'd have to reapply for their jobs on the new contract. The wage cut takes the form of a removal of paid lunch breaks. The new contract would also increase maximum driving time from 3 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours 10 minutes. Up until this latest attack, the basic salary of drivers was about £24,300, but could be boosted by overtime.
Unite national officer Bobby Morton said: “Our members are realistic and are prepared for a fair negotiated settlement – Unite has even offered to go to binding arbitration with an independent third party chair, but that has been rejected out-of-hand by the intransigent employers.
“Our members feel that they have been targeted for pay cuts, while the civil servants at the government’s Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, who are the puppeteers behind this, recently had a pay increase."