BUS services around Weymouth, Portland and west Dorset could be crippled next week due to a drivers’ strike.

Members of the Unite union who work for the area’s main bus provider, First, are planning a 24-hour walkout on Monday, January 20 due to a row over pay and conditions.

It will affect the Weymouth and Bridport depots.

The company says there are contingency plans in place ‘to minimise any possible negative impact’ the strike will have on services.

One driver said that school and colleges services would still be provided but that other passenger routes would be severely hit.

“It’s going to be absolute murder,” he said.

The driver added: “We don’t want to do it but we have been forced into action.

“Our pay is well below those who work at the Yeovil depot which we think is unfair.”

A spokesman for First said that services will be running on most of the company's routes.

Managing director for First Hampshire and Dorset Marc Reddy said: “We are very disappointed that our drivers have seen fit to take industrial action.

“This has come after several months of discussions about pay with local union representatives when we put forward various options to them during the talks.

“The 1.5 per cent pay rise we have offered them has already been accepted favourably by our other employees in Dorset and we remain open to further discussions with our drivers at the two depots at any time.”