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Union boss defends 'big money' bus driver salaries

The leader of Unite has defended what he calls the 'big money' earned by Island bus drivers, but insists says they are worth it.

Regional Industrial Organiser Eric Homes says salaries of up to £38,000 per year including overtime and unsocial hours supplements, are justified in view of job demands and long hours. 

It's a wage bill the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure says must be cut to meet sharply reduced government budgets.

In a ballot of union members last week, drivers overwhelmingly rejected an offer from the department to resolve the current dispute over where cutbacks should be made.

The deal proposed longer hours, reduced sick pay and an unpaid lunch break but avoided job losses.

Leisure minister Graham Cregeen has warned jobs may have to go if no agreement can be reached.

Now Mr Holmes has tabled a revised proposal and says the ball is back in the government's court.

He says drivers have fought for and won respectable pay levels in recent years and deserve to hold onto them:

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