MORE than 1,000 bus drivers are to be balloted on strike action in a dispute over pay, Unite the union has announced.

First Glasgow drivers have rejected a pay offer by 99 per cent on an 85 per cent turnout on the basis that it falls significantly below the pay levels of other drivers across First Group’s UK operations.

The ballot opens today (October 17) and will close on November 7. If successful, industrial action is likely to start in November.

Drivers are based in bus depots in Blantyre, Caledonia, Dumbarton, Overtown and Scotstoun.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite’s members at First Bus simply want a fair pay offer and to be paid in line with other First Group bus drivers.

"This is a very wealthy company which has the money in the bank to make a fair offer. First Bus is choosing to boost its profits by undervaluing its drivers in Glasgow which is totally unacceptable.

“Our members have Unite’s total support in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

The drivers are employed by First Glasgow (No1) and at First Glasgow (No 2).

Unite research has found that average pay per employee has failed to keep pace with inflation at either First Bus company, with a real terms decrease of 10 per cent at Glasgow (No 2) and eight per cent at Glasgow (No 1) over the last five years.

These pay cuts translate into around £3,000 per year in lost pay.

First Glasgow (No1) reported profits after the tax year ending March 2022 of £3.96m, whereas First Glasgow (No 2) reported a profit of £362,000.

Meanwhile, First Group PLC executive director Ryan Mangold saw his total remuneration package hit a staggering £3.1m in 2023 up from £1.9m in the previous year.

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, added: “There is growing anger among over 1,000 First Bus drivers that they are being significantly underpaid. The latest pay offer just doesn’t cut it when we know First Glasgow has millions sitting in the bank.

“Pay levels have been falling while boardroom pay at the First Group has gone through the roof. Our members will bring First Bus’ operations to a stop in Greater Glasgow unless both companies significantly improve their pay offers.”

There is also a similar dispute brewing involving around 150 Unite engineers at both companies.

First Glasgow has been contacted for comment.