Union leaders have warned buses could be taken off Edinburgh’s streets within weeks after a huge majority of Lothian staff who took part in a consultation backed strike action.
Here is everything you need to know on the Lothian Bus strike.
- What’s causing it?
Tensions have been building since December when a driver was sacked and around 10 others suspended over posts on a closed Facebook group amid claims of bullying and harassment by management at the bus company.
Unite say Lothian Buses axed time off for them to carry out union duties in response to collective grievances being lodged about poor workplace relations.
Unite regional industrial officer, Lyn Turner, says they have a number of outstanding issues in relation to procedural agreements, including on bullying and harassment, adding: “Unite has repeatedly warned that unless this catalogue of issues were addressed there would be overwhelming support to move towards an industrial action ballot.”
- What do Lothian Buses say?
Lothian Buses say they “absolutely refute” any claims of bullying and “hostility,” and that the union has been unwilling to engage after negotiations between the two sides broke down last week at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
In their statement, Lothian Buses added: “The branch chair and secretary are allocated four days per month to attend to their union duties - time which is paid for by Lothian and is way above what we are required to provide by law.
“We are at a loss to understand why the union hierarchy is intent on pursuing this damaging course of action that has the potential to impact on our customers.”
- What do the unions say?
Unite the union says that Lothian Buses axed time off for them to carry out union duties and warned industrial action was now looming as well as potential employment tribunal action. The union said this was “trade union vicitmisation”.
Lyn Turner, Unite regional industrial officer, said: ““The consultative ballot results have come out and we will take stock. We remain open to discussions but the hostility (of management) has put a marker down.The last thing we want to do is take industrial action, but if our arms are being tied by the company, then we will have no choice than to use all options available to us.”
- How could services be affected?
Union bosses have warned that if industrial action does take place, it could result in buses being taken off the roads. No options have been rules in or out yet, but industrial action could include strike action, working to rule or cancelling all overtime.
- When could this happen?
It is thought that the formal ballot for industrial action will take place in May. If agreed, dates would be set for industrial action and what form it would take.