FIRST BUS engineers are being balloted for strike action in a dispute over pay.

One hundred and fifty workers based at the Scotstoun, Dumbarton, Overtown, Caledonia, and Blantyre depots will be involved in the ballot which opens today and closes on September 28.

It comes after engineers rejected a pay offer put forward by First Glasgow (No1) and First Glasgow (No2) – both companies are part of First Group PLC’s bus operations in Scotland.

Unite says that if the ballot for strike action is successful then it is expected to take place from the middle of October.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “First Bus is a profitable operation with the two companies we are balloting posting joint profits of over £4m last year.

“First Bus can pay more and they must pay more. If they do not then 150 engineers will be out on strike action very soon fighting to secure the pay rise they deserve.

“We will support our First Bus members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay, and conditions.”

Unite claims that the average pay per employee has not kept pace with inflation at either First Bus company.

The union goes on to claim that in the last five years, there has been a real terms decrease of around ten per cent at Glasgow (No2) and eight per cent at Glasgow (No1) with these pay cuts reportedly translating into around £3,000 per year lost in pay.

Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, added: “First Bus is pleading poverty but the only ones getting a poor deal are our members who continue to be paid below inflation.

“The boardroom instead continues to see executive pay explode. The last pay deal our members received amounted to 5.5 per cent over two years.

“We are now in a situation where inflation skyrocketed into double figures for fifteen months in a row.

“Our members deserve a far better offer and First Bus has an opportunity to make that offer before strike action starts.”

A First Bus spokesperson said: “We have been notified by Unite that a consultative ballot on industrial action with engineers within First Glasgow will be taking place. 

“At First Bus, we look after our people and pay them a fair wage relative to the role they perform in the business.

"We have invested in upskilling our Engineering colleagues with the necessary training to be able to maintain and assess new state-of-the-art electric buses.

"As part of our wider business transformation at First Bus, we have also heavily invested in improving working conditions and enhanced benefits for our colleagues.

“We are seeking to resume negotiations with union representatives and are engaging with ACAS to help facilitate a resolution.”