Hundreds of bus workers have demanded a strike ballot to hold bullying bosses to account for attempting to sack a Unite convenor on ‘trumped up charges’ while waging a campaign of bullying and intimidation against him.

Unite regional officer Janet Wall said: “Yellow Buses in Bournemouth has created a poisonous working environment and workers are warning that unless bosses ‘sue for peace’ there could be a series of strikes until management are brought to their senses.

“Workers are preparing to vote on industrial action following a consultative ballot where 98 per cent of union members called for a strike vote. With the ballot result due on 21 November, a strike could happen over the Christmas period if workers vote for action.

A well respected shop steward Martin Conder 52 with 13 years unblemished service was assaulted by a passenger whilst driving the 1a bus on 7 October to Bournemouth. Another passenger came to Martin’s aid and the instigator was removed from the bus and left on the street.

There were no complaints from passengers and Mr Conder followed procedure and reported the incident to management at Yellow Buses. Astonishingly, management then tried to sack Martin. They failed but the senior union representative was given a final written warning. Martin’s appeal is due on 15 November.

Mr Conder sought advice from the Police. He was told he had done the right thing but management are pressing ahead with this ill-judged disciplinary.

During the disciplinary Martin was told by bosses he should have used his mobile phone to report the incident but having a mobile phone switched on in the driver’s cab is against the company’s own regulations and using a mobile phone could even result in the sack. But the behaviour of management has exposed their own failings; for at least three months every bus has been without an operational two way radio communication system in the cabs.

Janet Wall continued: “The workforce are fully behind Martin, he’s well respected. Workers are not prepared to see their shop steward treated so badly. They also fear that the company may have an ulterior motive for targeting their union representative ahead of the next round of talks over pay and conditions. We hope management thinks again, works with Unite to repair the damage they have done and gets back to business as usual for the residents of Bournemouth. “

Yellow Buses carries just under 15 million passengers a year on its fleet of 140 buses across Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset.


Notes to editors:

Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values. Secure Work: fighting for jobs and job security, Strong Voice: a union which is a respected voice at work and Decent Pay: a union focused on pay and conditions.

  • For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315

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