TRANSPORT UNION RMT confirmed today that it will be balloting nearly 500 members across Wilts and Dorset buses for both strike action and action short of a strike in response to an all-out attack by the company on working conditions.

Wilts and Dorset, part of the giant Go-Ahead Group southern buses division which racked up a 44 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £9.447m in its last accounts, has unleashed a series of attacks that will mean enforced changes to shifts, sign-on and sign off times, the imposition of unpaid meal breaks and a general assault on working conditions that will leave staff working longer and harder hours for less in return under intolerable pressure.

In addition, the company is now openly threatening that routes could be terminated and the company could pull out all together if staff don’t bend the knee and accept severe cuts to their working conditions.

As a result, RMT will begin balloting for action from January 23.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “RMT will not sit back while the profitable Wilts and Dorset buses outfit, which is also benefitting from a whole range of tax-payer funded subsidies, launches an all-out attack on terms and conditions while bullying staff with a threat to pull the service if they don’t bend the knee.

“ The last accounts for the company show that pre-tax profits increased by 44% to £9.447m – money earned off the back of the workforce - but even that isn’t enough for this crowd as they look to turn the screw with an assault on working conditions that would see staff running round like serfs with barely a minute for a breather.

“The ballot opens on the 23rd January and closes on the 7th February  and RMT will be calling for a massive “yes” vote that reflects the anger on the shop floor. The union remains available for talks to resolve this dispute which is all about bleeding staff dry and threatening to walk away from services that have already been subsidised up to the eyeballs with taxpayers cash.”