Strikes Scotland: First Bus drivers in Glasgow vote for industrial action

The strike involving First Bus drivers in Glasgow will run for a week starting from Friday, November 24

More than 1,200 “underpaid and undervalued” bus drivers will walk out for a week later this month in a dispute over pay, a union has announced.

Unite said the First Glasgow drivers voted by 99 per cent in support of strike action on a turnout of 77 per cent.

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Drivers will now walk out at 4am on Friday, November 24 until 3.59am on Friday, December 1.

First Bus workers in Glasgow will strike this month. Picture: John DevlinFirst Bus workers in Glasgow will strike this month. Picture: John Devlin
First Bus workers in Glasgow will strike this month. Picture: John Devlin

It comes after members rejected a pay offer, which the union claims falls significantly below the pay levels of other drivers across First Group’s UK operations.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “This is a very wealthy company which has plenty of money in the bank to make a better offer to our members.

“Our members’ demand is simple – they want to be paid in line with other drivers across First Group.

“We will support our First Bus drivers all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

The drivers are employed by First Glasgow (No.1) and First Glasgow (No.2), which are part of First Group’s bus operations in Scotland.

They are based in the Blantyre, Caledonia, Dumbarton, Overtown and Scotstoun bus depots.

Unite said average pay per employee has failed to keep pace with inflation at either First Bus company, with a real-terms decrease of 10 per cent at Glasgow (No.2) and 8 per cent at Glasgow (No.1) over the last five years.

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It said the cuts translate to around £3,000 per year in lost pay.

First Bus said it has made a pay offer of “a pay rise of over 11 per cent, well above the rate of inflation”.

Around 150 Unite engineers are involved in a similar dispute at both companies (First Glasgow No.1 and No.2), with strike action scheduled to take place on November 16 and 17.

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, said: “The dispute at First Bus is down to our drivers being underpaid and undervalued for a number of years.

“Unless First Bus moves quickly to improve their pay offer, then our members will bring bus operations to a stop for a week beginning on November 24.

“The ball is now firmly in First Bus’s court whether they want to escalate this dispute or resolve it in a speedy fashion.”

A First Bus spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have been notified of their intention to hold industrial action from November 24 to December 1 inclusive. This is despite us making an offer which would see a pay rise of over 11 per cent, well above the rate of inflation.

“In recent years, First Glasgow has heavily invested in electrifying its fleet as well as making significant pay awards. The investment has exceeded any profit made and has ensured we have a far more sustainable business for the future.

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“At First Bus, we look after our people and pay them a fair wage relative to the role they perform in the business. We have invested heavily in improving working conditions and enhanced benefits for our colleagues.

“We will be looking to continue discussions with union representatives in an attempt to reach a resolution.”

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