Bus driver shortage due to better HGV pay, union claims
Operators blame 'a range of factors', but Unite says staff are leaving to drive lorries for more money.
Trentbarton said the driver shortage was a national problemBus disruption in the East Midlands is being caused by staff leaving to become lorry drivers, says a union.Routes between Derby and Mansfield, Derby and Chesterfield, Derby and Burton, Leicester and Loughborough and Nottingham and Loughborough have been affected.
Trentbarton and Kinchbus, which run the services, apologised and said "a range of factors" had caused the problems.But Unite the Union said drivers were being paid more to drive HGVs.Trentbarton said some services on its Allestree, Mickleover, Comet, Nines, Royal Derby, Villagers V1 and V3 and X38 routes were cancelled on Thursday.
Kinchbus, which operates in and around Loughborough, said that at 07:45 BST it wason the 2, 5, 9, 12 and Skylink Derby routes.The companies said the shortage was a national problem rather than a localised issue.In a statement, a spokesperson for Trentbarton said it was being caused by "a range of factors beyond our control". headtopics.com
They added: "One is the delay in obtaining provisional licences from the DVLA for the new drivers we are actively recruiting and training."We do not foresee this being a long-term problem, but we do anticipate driver shortages continuing to impact our services in the short-term.
"We are doing everything in our power to increase our driving teams as soon as possible."'£20 an hour rather than £10'Bobby Morton from Unite agreed it was a national issue, but said it was fundamentally about pay.He said staff "are leaving their employers in droves" to become HGV drivers.
"HGV rates of pay are going up all the time because of the shortage," he said."Drivers are thinking, if you have to suffer the same conditions, you may as well do it for £20 an hour rather than £10."They feel it is something they have to do to enjoy a better or good standard of living."
Image caption,Mr Morton said drivers were leaving "in droves" nationallyHe said bus companies had given "so many excuses" for the shortage."They are blaming it on Brexit or the pandemic and now it is the DVLA, and will change to something else next week," he added. headtopics.com
He said the "very easy solution" was to raise wages and conditions for drivers, which could be funded through company profits rather than raising ticket prices.Unite said about 50 workers at Kinchbus were currently being balloted on strike action over wages, which, if successful, could take place in November.Read more: BBC News (UK) »
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Better increase their wages then.
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