KEIGHLEY Bus Company drivers are striking tomorrow in a dispute over pay.

Members of Unite the Union are walking out after a claim for a 50p-an-hour rise was rejected.

The company says it is planning to run temporary timetables for the day.

A spokesman said: "We regret the disruption this unnecessary action will cause for our customers.

"After many months of negotiation, our offer represents an hourly increase of up to 34p over two years for our drivers, who are already among the best paid in West Yorkshire.

"In addition, we have invested considerably in many new buses and other improvements to retain and attract customers and meet increasing demands for improved air quality, which helps to secure our future as a vital service to the people of Keighley.

"While we value the efforts of our colleagues, the union’s claim for a 50p-an-hour increase in a single year – as well as further overtime enhancements – represents up to a seven per cent rise which is simply unaffordable, particularly in Keighley where we are seeing fewer people travelling around the town. We cannot bear an increase far in excess of inflation.

"We refuse to let our customers down during the action and so we plan to run a network of our services in Keighley, particularly to hospitals, schools and places of work."

Phil Bown, regional officer with Unite the Union, said members had seen no growth in income for years and that strike action was "a last resort".

"They just feel enough is enough," he added.

"The cost of living has continued to rise but pay hasn't kept pace.

"Both the company's offers were below the rate of inflation.

"We have tried to resolve this issue but have been forced into a situation where this is the only course of action left.

"Members cannot sustain any further erosion of their standard of living.

"There are over 180 drivers at Keighley, with about 98 per cent union membership, and there is strong support for the action."

* Details of the temporary timetables can be found at Alternatively, phone 01535 603284 or call at Keighley Bus Station.