First Leeds strike called off after dismissal dispute

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First West Yorkshire has confirmed that following constructive talks held between the company and Unite representatives, the continuous strike action which was planned from Tuesday, July 26, was suspended.

A revised pay offer will be presented to drivers through a workplace ballot in the week commencing August 8.

Paul Matthews, Managing Director for First West Yorkshire said: “I’m pleased that Unite has suspended strike action.

“Although the dispute is not yet resolved we are hopeful the offer will be accepted and avoid any further disruption for our customers.”

The news follows a claim by Unite, published on its news page, which read: “The [First West Yorkshire] management has taken an ‘extremely aggressive’ stance which had seen the Unite branch secretary and two other workers dismissed for legitimate trade union activity.”

Unite Regional Officer Phil Brown stated: “So far, three people, including the Unite branch secretary, have been dismissed and 11 others have been given final written warnings.

“We are calling for the immediate reinstatement of the dismissed colleagues and the rescinding of the final written warnings, otherwise these cases will end up before an employment tribunal.”

First strongly denied that the employees were dismissed due to trade union activity and said they were instead removed from the company because of more serious allegations.

Paul Matthews commented: “The claims by Unite in their statement are simply wrong and are strongly rejected by First Leeds.

“I can confirm we have undertaken disciplinary action in relation to a number of very serious allegations that were of a nature that required us to bring them to the attention of the police. We have assured all of our staff that we must all respect each others’ opinions and, in line with the law and our own policies, must never behave in a manner that is in any way abusive, intimidating, harassing or threatening.

“We are not in a position to comment on any individual cases but I can confirm that no members of staff have been disciplined for taking part in industrial action or for any legitimate trade union activity.”