Drivers call off strike action on Lothian Buses

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Unite the union have confirmed that following a series of intense negotiations involving the union and Lothian Buses industrial action has now been suspended.

Lothian Buses have brought forward additional proposals which will be put to Unite’s 1700-strong membership over the next few days and voted for on Friday, August 9.

Last Friday (July 26), Unite members rejected further proposals to address the dispute issues aimed at improving the workplace culture. These were considered insufficient.

The dispute stems from poor workplace relations, and a bullying and hostile culture at Lothian Buses by management. Staff were subjected to unfair treatment and longstanding procedural agreements were regularly breached which directly affected the terms and conditions of Unite’s membership.

Unite regional industrial officer, Mr Lyn Turner, said: “Unite can confirm that sufficient progress has been made in negotiations between the union, Lothian Buses and stakeholders to suspend the strike action set to begin on Friday. Additional proposals were tabled which we will now put to our members and a workplace ballot will take place on August 9. We are confident these latest proposals will give our members the assurances they require to positively address this long running issue.”

Richard Hall, Lothian’s managing director, said: “Positive talks with Unite have led to a deal being agreed between Lothian and union officials which will suspend Friday’s proposed strike action.

“Unite will now take forward the jointly agreed proposal to their members with a recommendation for acceptance.

“It is the hope of both parties that this agreement will be passed in order to avoid any industrial action.”

The charity Age Scotland had raised serious concerns about the impact the strike will have on older people.

Michelle Supple, director of Charity Services, said: “A reliable, accessible bus service is vital to the wellbeing of older people.

“Access to transport is crucial in tackling loneliness and isolation in the older population, so we are hopeful an agreement can be reached between the two sides so that any future strike action can be avoided.”

Similarly, Social Care organisation, Alba shared similar concerns.

Nataly Wilson, Founder and CEO commented: “Any strike is going to have a serious impact on those that require assistance as 95.7 per cent of our current employees use buses as the main form of transport to travel to and from those needing care at home.

“It is heartening to learn that the action proposed has been suspended pending further talks between bus drivers, their union and the employer.”