Trade union Unite has stated that it intends to gauge support amongst drivers for industrial action, the BBC has reported, in a dispute over service changes which the union says will result in cuts to running times and recovery time. Unite claimed that this was the first time that such changes had been proposed with no consultation, and that strikes might be considered in order to ‘protect public safety.’
Mick Dowds, Unite’s national convener, said: “Unite members are furious that at a time when public safety is paramount and after Unite welcomed the Speed Awareness Agreement alongside supporting other health and safety initiatives such as ‘De-stressing the Driver’, First Glasgow is blatantly scurrying around with a new set of rosters.
“This will directly impact on drivers’ well-being and could have a catastrophic effect on passengers and the public.”
He went on to say that this highlights why bus companies should be brought back into local-authority ownership: “This is essential to ensure services meet the needs of communities and those most vulnerable in society rather than having diminished services in the chase for profit.”
Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director of First Bus in Scotland, said the firm was disappointed with the strike ballot decision over plans that were still in the consultation phase.
He added: “We are striving to make things better for the customer by making bus travel simple, speeding up bus boarding times, reducing journey times wherever possible, using data to make better operational decisions and developing a customer relationship as opposed to a transactional one.
“As part of this process, we are using data to assess our network performance across a number of areas including running time. These proposals will be fully reviewed and tested as is our standard practice in this scenario and nothing as yet is set in stone. We would always seek the input of our trade union colleagues and staff in this scenario to ensure their feedback is taken into account. The safety of our staff, customers and other road users are our number one priority and this is something we will never compromise on.”