Strike looming at Arriva Southern Counties over mystery shoppers

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99. A potential strike is on the cards at Arriva Southern Counties, the Medway Messenger reported. Bus drivers are threatening to strike over management plans to plant what they are called ‘spies’ on board to check on their driving and manners. Arriva Southern Counties wants to introduce a scheme to put mystery shoppers on buses to help raise awareness of driving ability and customer care. The bus operator has used the PRIDE Driver Quality Monitoring (DQM) policy and procedure in other parts of the country for more than 10 years.

Members of the Unite union in the southern region have taken part in a consultative ballot to gauge feeling about taking industrial action. Unite claims the turnout at seven depots, including Gillingham and Maidstone, has been between 80% and 90%, and the number in favour of a walkout could be as high as 95%.

Tramadol Buy Online Uk Unite Spokesman, Dave Weeks, said: “We are quite happy to go along with it in principle, but what we do have an issue with is what are the required standards being asked of us? What are we being judged on? “We have never really had any customer service training unlike in other areas. All our drivers are licensed to drive buses, but are they looking for an advanced stage which might require more training? “We are essentially being spied upon and we have not been told of the implications. Presumably, it could lead to disciplinary hearings.” An Arriva spokesman said: “Some members of the union have concerns over the policy which we are working through at the moment with them. “All drivers do get basic customer care training as part of the Driver CPC and this gets refreshed periodically on an ongoing basis as part of the certification. “This initiative is part of our drive towards making the bus a real option for people, who these days demand the highest customer care for their money, and we hope to persuade the union that this is beneficial to all parties, especially our customers.”