Councillors Letter to Marc Reddy at First Direct

Marc Reddy

First Dorset Managing Director

283 Empress Rd, Southampton,

Hampshire, SO14 0JW

15 August 2016

Industrial Dispute at Bridport and Weymouth Depots

We are writing as Bridport Town Councillors to urge an immediate end to this unnecessary dispute which is causing inconvenience and uncertainty for bus users and damaging the prospects for the future of the bus service in the area.

We totally support the justice of the driver’s case for equal pay with other depots.  Paying a meagre £8.80 an hour for a skilled and responsible job is scandalous. The drivers deserve to be paid much more than they are asking for.  Your company has tried to justify the discrimination against our local drivers on the grounds that fare revenue in this area is lower than the other areas where higher wages are paid.  Hardly the drivers’ fault – they do just the same job as colleagues elsewhere.

We find it remarkable that your company, part of the massive First Group, can conduct itself in such a short-sighted manner.  Have you never read or learnt anything about how to motivate staff, and the commercial advantages that result from a well-motivated workforce?  It seems not since your company is going to great lengths to alienate the drivers.  The union says it would cost £48,000 to settle this dispute and you say this is unaffordable yet the 2014/15 accounts of First Hampshire & Dorset show that the five directors of the company received £834,000 between them, an average of £166,800 per director. First Hampshire & Dorset’s profit after tax was £2.58 million!

With the bus network already under severe stress from cuts in DCC subsidies this dispute increases the danger that the whole system will become untenable as local people have to resort to other means of travel.  We want the bus service to not just survive but to expand as one part of a sustainable transport system for our area.   We appeal to you to see sense, settle the claim in full and start to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Julian Jones, Bridport Town Councillor – Green Party

Kelvin Clayton, Bridport Town Councillor – Green Party

John Orrell, Weymouth and Portland Borough Councillor, Green Party