Strike action mandate at Lothian Buses with ‘imminent talks’ set to take place

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More than 1,700 Lothian Buses staff could take strike action in the coming weeks following the closure of an industrial action ballot.

In an emphatic result, 91.3 per cent of Unite members in a 63.2 per cent turnout voted to support strike action in response to a long running dispute with Lothian Buses management.

The Unite union confirmed that it will enter into negotiations with Lothian Buses under the auspices of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) on June 28 as part of efforts to find a positive resolution to the dispute, and to avert strike action.

However, if those negotiations fail, Unite now has a legal mandate to hold strike action at 14 days’ notice.

Unite has previously indicated that in those circumstances, strike action is likely to take place in the month of August during the period when the Edinburgh Fringe and International Festival takes place.

The dispute stems from poor workplace relations and a hostile culture at Lothian Buses by management where procedural agreements have not been adhered to impacting directly on the terms and conditions of Unite’s membership.

Previous talks in April at Acas broke down due to the failure by Lothian Buses management to seriously consider implementing remedial measures to improve the workplace culture.

Unite regional industrial officer, Lyn Turner, said: “Unite members have delivered an emphatic result with over 90 per cent voting in support of strike action at Lothian Buses. The scale of the result is testament to the lack of trust and confidence which Unite’s 1,700 strong membership has in the current Lothian Buses management.

“Unite will now enter imminent talks with Lothian Buses at Acas in a positive and constructive manner in the coming days.

“We do so in an effort to resolve this dispute and we want to mutually agree a number of measures, which could easily avert any industrial action. However, this requires Lothian Buses to enter these talks in the same manner and if they do not then Unite has a clear mandate to issue a notice for strike action at any time.”