Unite the union today (16 April) confirmed that its membership at Lothian buses will now be balloted for industrial action following overwhelming support in a consultative ballot. In a three-week long ballot, 94 per cent of Unite members indicated support to take industrial action.

The move follows a break down in negotiations with Lothian Buses management at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas). The talks took place due to an escalation in the dispute which has involved Lothian buses management unilaterally withdrawing facility time for the union’s branch chair and branch secretary in response to collective grievances being lodged over the poor workplace relations. Unite has stated that unless facility time was re-instated then industrial action, which will result in buses being taken off the streets of Edinburgh, would be inevitable.

Unite regional industrial officer Lyn Turner, said: “Unite met with Lothian Buses management at Acas and we entered those talks in good faith to find a resolution to this dispute. However, there was a refusal at the outset to reinstate facility time, which is a red line for us. We have a number of outstanding issues in relation to procedural agreements, which includes bullying and harassment. This is illustrated by the decision to remove facility time for the two senior Unite representatives. This decision in our view is trade union victimisation and we will now move to an employment tribunal.

“Unite has repeatedly warned that unless this catalogue of issues were addressed then there would be overwhelming support to move towards an industrial action ballot. This has proven to be the case. It’s disappointing that it has come to this but the consultative ballot result clearly shows that our members are prepared to do whatever it takes to get Lothian buses to understand the strength and depth of feeling.”

ENDS

For more information contact Lyn Turner on 07980871394.

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.