Connex Jersey operates Caetano Nimbus-bodied Dennis Dart SLFs - similar to those operating with Island Coachways on Guernsey (and not dissimilar to those in Gibraltar, though these are left-hand drive). Photo: Wigan Airways
The current operation is run by Connex and while looking at the pay and conditions CT Plus would inherit, quite a can of worms was uncovered. So much so, that the company is not simply continuing the service from January next year, but starting new contracts of employment for all those currently working for the company after unionisation saw working procedures that HCT's chief executive Dai Powell described on his company's website as "repugnant".
The headline facts and figures do show some quite remarkable working practises and rates of pay:
- Some drivers earn over £70,000 a year
- Overtime is NOT allocated by management
- A number of drivers are stuck on part-time contracts with full-time hours turned down
- Shift allocation is NOT done my management
- There are around 60 spare duties IN ADDITION to duties used to operate the buses
- Time-and-a-half is paid for spare duties
- A 'sick rota' exists, staffed by more spare drivers so those on the Spare Rota rarely need to drive
- The employer requires union permission to recruit new staff
- Staff attending a disciplinary hearing are paid time-and-a-half
The package offered to (and ultimately accepted by) drivers sees enhancements in all rates of pay, though with management ensuring fair allocation of pretty much everything, CT Plus Jersey bus drivers could earn up to £40k p/a.
The following is the offer accepted by bus drivers (though not before threatening a wildcat strike, which was stopped at last minute following the intervention of the Jersey government):
- £13.50 p/h Mon-Fri
- £14.50 p/h Sat
- £20.08 p/h Sun
- £27.00 p/h Bank Hols
- 39 hours minimum on rotas
- 54 hours maximum on rotas
- Overtime is paid at the rate for the day being worked
- £6.53 towards Health Benefit
- £1.3k Pension Contribution
- 25 days holiday
- Disciplines to be paid at basic rate
- £539 weekly holiday pay
- £74.62 daily sick pay (after waiting days)
- Sundays & Bank Holiday work is in the rota
- Bank Holiday pay at 7.8 hours basic pay in lieu/when not working
- Stand-by duties to be included in the rotas
- Rota to allocated 5-in-7 days' work
It's quite remarkable that drivers can earn £70k+ a year when they're currently paid less than the new rates listed above, though with union-allocated work, it would appear reasonably possible. Jersey is a very expensive place to live so I wasn't expecting the new rates of pay to be less than those paid to drivers in London - and the above hourly rates are considerably in excess of bus driver pay in London.
Seen in St. Helier is 768 (J108024), operating Service 12 to Corbiere. Photo: 'Maljoe'
A 45-hour, 5-day week, with one-fifth at the Saturday rate and four-fifths at the Mon-Fri rate grosses £616.50, so annually this could see the driver earn £32,058 and that would be on the assumption of a five-day, 45-hour working week. What the options are for overtime is unknown as the 60 spare duties would presumably be reduced and the drivers removed from them allocated driving work. I suspect the company will start possibly over-staffed. If anyone knows more, please leave a comment.
At the same time I chose to write today's blog, I read Chris Cheek's analysis of Eurostar International, the new company formed last year to bring together all of Eurostar's operations. In the first year there, the average employee pay £45k and that was with employer National Insurance contribution. As a contrast to certain Connex Jersey drivers, it's quite remarkable.