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Deal done: Bus drivers accept First Aberdeen’s second “final offer” to bring end to contract dispute

Thursday April 12th 2018 at 5:22 PM

Bus drivers have voted to accept a new contract put forward by First Aberdeen.

Unite Union members voted in favour of the deal in a ballot – by a 60% majority.

It brings a close to a row that has rolled on for weeks, and forced drivers to walk-out in a series of strikes.

The dispute looked to be headed to indefinite strikes earlier this week, after Unite members rejected what First had called their “final offer”.

But a new offer came out of talks on the eve of the industrial action meaning another ballot went out for drivers to consider.

First Aberdeen managing director Andrew Jarvis said the company is now looking to work together with drivers and the union to “get the city moving again.”

He announced all services will return to normal and apologised to customers for previous disruptions.

“We are delighted with the news that Unite the Union members have today voted in favour of accepting the new terms and conditions package, negotiated and recommended by their representatives earlier this week,” Mr Jarvis said.

“This has been a challenging process for everyone involved, but we now must look to quickly mend relationships and get back to providing the best possible bus service for the city of Aberdeen.

He added: “Our aim at the start of this process was to reach an agreement with Unite that helps us to secure the future of the business in the city and whilst there has been a compromise on both sides, this final package of terms and conditions is one that will help the company achieve this goal.

“The new proposal includes a two-year pay deal that has been negotiated and agreed by both sides which will provide a stable platform for the business in the long term.”

Unite the Union’s Regional Officer Willie Wallace echoed First Aberdeen’s call to mend relationships between the two parties.

He said, “It’s been a long and difficult dispute our members have been resolute in their action and that has brought the company back to the table on several occasions.”

“We can now hopefully put this matter to rest and move on and build some bridges that we may have to build with First Bus.

“Nobody wants to go into industrial action and our members are the same, but on this occasion they felt they had no option but to take that action.

He added: “We’ve pushed the company far enough and their action has brought results.

“We have announced the result to First and in the coming weeks we have to sit down with them because we, as union members, want the company to be successful and hopefully we can have an input to any changes they might look at in the future.”

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