DISSATISFACTION of bus drivers at Southern Vectis has been laid bare by union RMT — and strike action could follow.

Union members are seeking a "substantial increase in pay and improvement in terms and conditions" and have rejected the proposal of a pay freeze and the subsequent offer of a £250 one-off payment.

The matter was laid out in a letter to RMT members by union general secretary Michael Lynch, on the rates of pay and conditions of service.

Southern Vectis has been informed they are now in dispute and a ballot for strike action could follow if demands aren't met within the next 14 days.

The matter has come to light after dozens of bus services had to be cut across the Island due to a lack of staff.

Driver shortages hit Routes 1, 5 and 9 yesterday (Friday).

Although Southern Vectis said it was due to unavailable staff, they previously said the driver shortages was not a Covid issue, or a recruitment one.

The letter to RMT members said: "Your union has been in negotiations with Southern Vectis with regards to our pursuit of a substantial increase in pay and improvement in terms and conditions for RMT members at the company.

"At the first meeting, the company proposed a pay freeze across all grades, which was rejected by the negotiation team.

"The company then invited your negotiating team to a further meeting and made a formal offer of a £250 one off payment and commitment from the company to consolidate this payment in further years.

"A branch meeting was held and the offer was unanimously rejected by all members in attendance and, after further discussions, it was unanimously agreed by the branch that a demand should be made for a substantial increase in pay without any loss to the terms and conditions and if not forthcoming within 14 days then a ballot for industrial action should commence."

Southern Vectis operations director, David Lee-Kong, said: "Southern Vectis is still in negotiations with the trade union and a further meeting has been arranged for the coming week to discuss matters further.”