The new chairman of FirstGroup should pledge to halt the sell-off of its bus operations in the UK, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 26 June).

Unite’s intervention came after FirstGroup chairman Wolfhart Hauser resigned after beating off an investors’ coup spearheaded by hedge fund Coast Capital yesterday (Tuesday 25 June).

Unite has 15,000 members working for First Bus, one of the UK’s largest bus operators.

Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “We are glad that Coast Capital’s bid to take over the company by appointing new directors to the board has failed.

“We have had enough of hedge fund raiders making a quick buck from UK businesses and industry at the expense of the employees.

“We are seeking a firm pledge from Wolfhart Hauser’s successor as chairman that First Bus won’t be sold off piecemeal to potential asset strippers. It should remain as part of parent company FirstGroup.

“If any buyer for any of First Bus’ operations in the UK thinks that there are rich and short-term easy pickings to be made at the expense of our hardworking members, they will need to think again.

“We regard bus services as a public service for the travelling public and not a vehicle for heavyweight corporates to squeeze the last ounce of profit from.”

Unite has already said that it ‘won’t tolerate a single job loss’ at First Bus, following the announcement last month that FirstGroup intended to sell-off its bus operations in the UK.

At a meeting earlier this month of Unite’s First Bus reps from across the UK, it was agreed that First Bus should remain as part of FirstGroup and that Unite should strongly campaign to that end.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065
Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.