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Trade union gives legal notice to First Bus about industrial action ballot

Tuesday February 13th 2018 at 10:42 AM

The trade union Unite has served an official legal notice to First Bus that a ballot will be carried out for industrial action.

It’s over an ongoing dispute between drivers and the firm over proposed changes to work conditions – which are estimated to leave drivers between £4000 and £6000 worse off a year.

Ballots will be sent out from tomorrow before the result is announced on the 28th.

Mike Flinn, the regional officer for Unite, said: “We did offer a paid break which the driver gets – a loss of about £1500 a year for a driver, almost £250,000 for all the drivers – but First rejected that.

“We’re happy to go back to the negotiating table and look at all the conditions and see what can be saved and what can’t be and come to a 50-50 agreement.

“It’s a long process and we try to stay away from industrial action because it disrupts the public, but I think the public realise that, in this case, industrial action is needed.

“The company need to realise that profit isn’t always everything. I’m sure the public appreciate we deserve to be paid a reasonable wage. We’re professional drivers and coming down to below £20,000 a year is unacceptable.”

First Aberdeen Operations Director, David Phillips, said: “It is hugely disappointing that union representatives have decided to ballot for industrial action. The trade union must realise that we are operating in a very challenging economic climate, which has had a negative impact on the business.

“During the period of consultation with the union and individual drivers, my door has remained open and this will continue to be the case going forward until the process is exhausted. The lines of communication remain open and we would encourage the union to take up the option of further discussions in a bid to avert strike action.”

“I would encourage drivers to consider accepting our offer to safeguard services to our customers and provide job security for the future. The new terms and conditions are not something that we have entered into lightly.”

“We have been in discussions with Unite the Union representatives for a number of months now because it is something that we deem absolutely necessary given the current economic climate in Aberdeen. Our aim is to take the necessary steps to reduce our costs to ensure the future of jobs and the business itself within the city.”

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