Brighton and Hove Buses drivers could go on strike over “low pay and terrible conditions” after rejecting a ten per cent pay rise.

Workers will be voting tomorrow on whether to walk out in a ballot which could see all bus services grind to a halt at the end of September.

One bus driver told The Argus that the majority of the workforce is in favour of striking and there are “a lot of stressed out drivers”.

Around 1,000 workers including drivers, cleaners, engineers and those in other vital roles are being balloted over the strike action. The ballot closes on September 12.

Brighton and Hove Buses, which is owned by Go-Ahead Group, put forward a ten per cent increase at the weekend which would put some drivers on £38,500 per year.

The union Unite said workers want an increase in sick pay. It also claimed that workers want an increase in holiday as those with under six years’ service get just 20 days.

The Argus: Workers are demanding 'better pay and working conditions'. Pictured is the bus depot in Lewes Road, BrightonWorkers are demanding 'better pay and working conditions'. Pictured is the bus depot in Lewes Road, Brighton (Image: The Argus)

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Workers across the Brighton and Hove bus company are rightfully furious at the low pay and terrible conditions they are being forced to endure including having to work for six years to be entitled to day-one sick pay.

“The Go-Ahead group will feel the full force of Unite in backing our members in this dispute and our relentless focus on jobs, pay and conditions.”

Brighton and Hove Buses also put forward a seven per cent pay rise offer in July which was also rejected.

Unite regional officer Janet Nobbs said: “We have tried to reason with Brighton and Hove Buses but their refusal to meet our members with a decent pay offer has left us with no choice but to ballot for strike action.

"We urge the bus company to come back to the negotiating table and continue discussion.

 “We encourage the residents of Brighton and Hove and further afield to join us in directing their anger towards Go-Ahead as their bus services will be brought to a standstill if industrial action is forced to go ahead.”

The Argus: Unite general secretary Sharon GrahamUnite general secretary Sharon Graham (Image: Supplied) 

This is not the first time Brighton and Hove Buses workers have threatened to strike.

There were five weeks of one-day strikes planned in June 2008 but these were cancelled after a new pay deal was agreed.

In 2016, staff withdrew from proposed strike action due to “management culture issues” after Unite and Brighton and Hove Buses management came to an agreement.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Buses said: “We are currently discussing pay with our union representatives and have recently put forward a ten per cent increase, following a 10.5 per cent increase in July 2022.

“Our average salary for drivers is £35,000 per annum not including the ten per cent we have recently offered. We are continuing with constructive talks to find a way forwards.

"As a business we are always happy to discuss terms and conditions but these points [sick pay and holiday allowance] have not been raised in the pay negotiations."

Unite said Brighton and Hove Buses carries the most passengers in the UK outside London.

The company covers an area from Tunbridge Wells in the east to Shoreham and Lancing to the west. Metrobus, which is part of the Go-Ahead group, covers Crawley and Gatwick Airport.