Strike action expected at First Aberdeen

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First Aberdeen’s drivers are in dispute with the operator because of changes to terms and conditions. DONALD STEWART

Drivers at First Aberdeen have voted to strike, the Aberdeen Evening Express reported.

Drivers are in dispute with the company about proposed changes to their terms and conditions. About 250 drivers were balloted and of those who took part, 98% voted in favour of action short of a strike, with 95% voting in favour of action including the possibility of a strike.

Drivers are concerned the new contract would lead to less holiday entitlement, longer working hours and benefits being slashed. In January, drivers staged a protest against the new deal outside the firm’s King Street depot.

Unite the Union, which represents the drivers, formally notified First of the results, which can be activated any day after March 15.

Mike Flinn, Unite Branch Convener, said: “We view these proposed changes to drivers’ contracts as unfair. The results are a demonstration that the drivers among our membership feel very strongly about the new terms.

“Of course, there is still a door open to First Bus, which can talk to us to resolve this issue. Unite’s aim is always to get round the table and to take a sensible approach to the problem.”

First Aberdeen Managing Director, Andrew Jarvis, said: “We are disappointed union representatives and their members have decided to vote in favour of industrial action.

“We are awaiting further information from Unite about any forthcoming action, but our union colleagues must realise we are operating in a very challenging economic climate, which has had a negative impact on the business.

“During our period of consultation with the union and drivers, we made a number of improvements to our offer. We feel this is a reasonable offer and see it as a way to safeguard services to our customers and provide job security.

“We have not entered into this process lightly, but these steps are necessary to safeguard the future of the depot at King Street and to bring us into line with other operators in the city.”