Pay victory for East Coast bus drivers after Evening News revealed their food bank plight
Union chiefs have welcomed a hard-fought pay increase for bus drivers in East Lothian as a ‘step in the right direction’.
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Drivers at East Coast Buses, part of Lothian Buses, will get an 8 per cent pay increase which will bring their wages into line with Lothian county drivers.
Unite won the increase following last-ditch talks with the threat of strike action on the table,after they raised concerns over pay and conditions months ago.
The publicly-owned company had previously said they were not willing to negotiate until October.
It comes after the Evening News revealed that some drivers based in Musselburgh had to rely on foodbanks to feed their families because their pay rates are so poor.
East Coast drivers have not had a wage rise for four years and a pay offer was withdrawn last year when the pandemic hit.
Drivers at East Coast were on just £10.88 per hour while subsidiary Lothian Country, which operates services to West Lothian, pays £11.73 per hour.
The workers will now see around £37 a week extra in their pocket after the increase which is effective from 6 June.
However, they will still be paid over £3 less per hour than colleagues working for the main company.
Unite will continue talks in a bid to secure sick pay and overtime and seek equal pay with Lothian Buses city drivers who are paid £14.18 per hour.
Lothian buses have said they recognise ‘the disparity between the two operations’ and offered monthly talks with the next review in January.
Lyn Turner, Unite Regional Officer said: “We are pleased Lothian buses have agreed to harmonise East Coast drivers pay with Lothian country rates.
However, we also have commitment on further talks regarding overtime, sick pay and other anomalies that need to be addressed to ensure East Coast are not the poor relation in the Lothian family.”
"To be fair to the company they got round the table and saw that they needed to address the issues. The goal is to get city rates and terms and conditions but it’s one step at a time. We welcome this is a major step in the right direction.”
Lothian has been contacted for comment.