Brighton and Hove Buses drivers considering strike action say they are being “ground down” and have accused their employer of “fluffing up” salary figures.

Staff are currently balloting on whether to walk out at the end of September due to what they say is “low pay and terrible conditions”.

They have accused Brighton and Hove Buses of “fluffing up” the salary figures by factoring in overtime work as well as night shifts which are better paid.

One driver of more than ten years claimed most of them are on £31,500 and said working conditions have got worse in recent years.

But the bus company insisted £35,000 was the “average basic earnings based on the rota hours of all our drivers over 12 months, excluding overtime”.

The Argus: Bus staff are deciding whether to strike. Pictured is inside the company's depot in Lewes Road, BrightonBus staff are deciding whether to strike. Pictured is inside the company's depot in Lewes Road, Brighton (Image: The Argus)

Its ten per cent pay offer was rejected earlier in the month which it said would have put drivers on £38,500.

But the bus driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “Drivers at work are upset because they have fluffed up the figures to make it sound like the best job in the world and the money is great. If it was £38,500 people would put up with the stress levels.

“We’re short on drivers which is giving drivers more work they have to do. If one less bus is on the road, you get the extra passengers and the extra stress.

“The subsidised canteen went years ago, the Christmas bonus went years ago. They just want to save money.

“They’re taking away all the benefits and not replacing them with anything. You’re grinding the drivers down.

“Drivers feel there is no real support from the upper management. 

“The stress levels have gone up increasingly. Drivers used to be able to do training courses on the job, now we have to do it in our own time on days off.

“They have pumped up the average wage. It is making the public think we’re on great big wages. A lot of drivers do overtime so they have averaged the wages out which is quite clever.

“I suspect they have dragged in the night shift work to fluff up the figures. If you went in as a normal five-day shift driver, you would be nearer £31,500 base salary now.


“Why are the staff leaving and not staying there? Why are they 200 staff short?”

Brighton and Hove Buses did not clarify what the range of salaries for bus drivers is.

It also did not address why there is no longer a subsidised canteen or Christmas bonus.

The union Unite said workers want an increase in sick pay and more holiday as those with under six years’ service get 20 days.

Some 1,000 union members, including drivers, cleaners, engineers and other roles, are voting in a ballot which closes on September 12.

Alex Chutter, operations director at Brighton and Hove Buses, said: “£35,000 is the average basic earnings based on the rota hours of all of our drivers over 12 months, excluding any overtime.

“We have offered a ten per cent increase to all basic rates of pay and are continuing discussions.”