Alternative buses in Cornwall as early drivers go on strike for a pay rise

Helston bus drivers staged a protest this morning as part of a wider action over wages.

Commuters could experience travel disruption today as First Bus workers go on strike in Cornwall.

RMT workers demonstrated at bus depots including Helston, Camborne, Redruth, Penzance and Falmouth to fight for more pay and better conditions.

Around 400 workers in Cornwall and Somerset who have announced their intention to act are said to be furious that many of them are being paid just over £11 an hour and bosses are only offering a small raise to 12 £ per hour.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members have no choice but to go on strike over an insulting and derisory wage offer.

“First Group is swimming in cash and could easily pay bus workers a decent raise to help cope with the escalating cost of living crisis.

“The Cornwall and Somerset public that our members faithfully serve need a service that pays workers properly, so they don’t leave the industry, which is creating chronic bus shortages.

“We are determined to win for our members, and we urge First Group to reach a negotiated settlement with RMT.”

Members of RMT, which stands for Rail Maritime Transport, and who are local to Helston, began demonstrating at 7am this morning at Helston Sainsburys depot.

A spokesperson for the group said: “We want the protest to be as friendly as possible.

Travel disruptions in Cornwall as bus drivers strike for a pay riseKate Locket

“We are humbled by the donations we have received so far, including Costa and some Jaffa Cakes.”

During their protest, many citizens showed their support by honking their horns as they walked past.

An official statement from RMT is due to be announced at Truro Bus Depot this afternoon.

There will still be three days of strikes which will take place on October 21, November 4 and November 11.

Due to these strikes there will be possible travel disruption for many people across Cornwall.

The Packet contacted First for a response.

In a statement on its website, First Bus said: “We can confirm that 227 RMT members on our staff of 650 buses operating the Somerset and Cornwall by Kernow routes have voted to take industrial action following recent discussions on salary offers.

“Therefore, it is likely that a very limited service will operate this coming Monday, October 10, with no guaranteed journeys. In light of this, we advise our customers to seek alternatives where possible.

“In Cornwall, we expect Truro Park & ​​Ride (PR1/PR1A) to be the only registered bus service to operate a full timetable. In addition, the following routes are expected to take place:

“Land’s End Coaster – 0725 Sennen Cove to Mounts Bay Academy and Humphrey Davy School plus afternoon return to 1510.

“17 – 0737 St Ives to Mounts Bay Academy & Humphrey Davy School plus return 1509.

“Many private school and college buses that we operate will be running, and these have been communicated to the board and/or school/college involved.

“Unfortunately, no service is guaranteed, and the above is based on predicted driver availability.

“We sincerely apologize to all of our customers for any inconvenience this will cause. We are doing everything we can to operate the services we can.”

Go Cornwall Bus and ATS, which operates around Falmouth, Penryn and Helston, have released statements to say their buses are still operating today.

Go Cornwall said: “Go Cornwall Bus, Hopley’s, Travel Cornwall and OTS are not involved in the industrial action which is taking place on Monday 10th October 2022 in Cornwall.

“There are alternative plans in place for some bus stations, as below.

Penzance – Buses use the outer road from the bus station staying on public roads.

“Truro – Services are moving from the bus station to Lemon Quay.

“Newquay – Buses use the outer route of the bus station staying on public roads.

“Camborne – Buses stop outside the bus station and exit Union Street via Trelowarren Street.”

OTS said: “We are saddened to learn that a local bus company operating in our area is anticipating disruption due to industrial action on Monday 10th October.

“THIS IS NOT US.

“All ‘red bus’ operators in Cornwall including ourselves, Go Cornwall Bus, Hopley’s and Travel Cornwall are unaffected and will operate a normal service.

“However, remember that we are a family operator with smaller vehicles. We are unfortunately unable to accommodate all displaced passengers who may be seeking alternative transport, particularly between Falmouth and Penryn and Falmouth and Helston, which are corridors we share with the large blue and green buses.

“While we will always try to accommodate everyone on board, please be aware that we will likely be pushed to our limits on Monday the 10th. Before travelling, particularly on the 69 and 69A services between Penryn and Falmouth, please consider whether your trip is really necessary or if you could reschedule your trip for later in the week.

“Please be patient and allow extra time for your trip. Please show respect to our staff who, as always and no doubt, will do their best to serve the local community.”

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