First Group profits soar as bus workers lose out

First Group profits soar as bus workers lose out

11 November 2022

RMT Press Office:

Transport union RMT slammed greedy First South West today for not settling the pay dispute with bus workers while parent company profits are soaring.

First Group has published its half year results for the six months to September 2022 which shows that operating profits from its continuing operations have increased to £66 million compared to £52 million for the first half of last year. 

First South West workers in Somerset and Cornwall are angry that many of them are only paid just over £11 an hour and that bosses only offered a small uprate to £12 an hour.

On top of the huge profits First Group has made, First South West itself wholly owns Somerset Passenger Solutions. For the year ending March 2021, First South West received a dividend income of £2.1 million from SPS.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that it was time the company recognised the contribution workers made before during and after the pandemic. 

“First are running 20 per cent fewer bus services than pre-pandemic, is protected against the impact of industrial action on the railway and is paying out a dividend pay-out to shareholders.

“That is a scandal that needs to be addressed in order to reward bus workers and not just shareholders,” he said. 

The company also boasts about the fact it is indemnified by the government during industrial action in the rail sector, where it manages the Avanti, Transpennine Express, GWR and SWR contracts, by confirming that ‘the financial impact of industrial action is expected to be limited under the terms of the management fee-based contracts’. 

First has announced an interim dividend of 0.9p per share – which they estimate to be around £6.7 million in total, to be paid on December 23.

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