Lothian Buses drivers have staged a walk-out over the firm’s boardroom unrest as the turmoil engulfing Edinburgh’s flagship transport service takes a fresh twist.
Around 25 staff held a short protest outside two of the firm’s three depots yesterday afternoon to show solidarity with ex-chairwoman Ann Fauld, who resigned last week.
It is understood drivers are angry at being “kept in the dark” about the dispute at the firm’s top level and fear for the future of operations director Bill Campbell – one of the directors whose complaints against chief executive Ian Craig are at the heart the row.
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Drivers at the firm’s HQ on Annandale Street are believed to have walked out at lunchtime, sparking a similar protest at Longstone bus depot.
Union leaders are said to have convinced protesters to return to work after 20 minutes.
The unofficial walk-out follows an investigation into Lothian Buses boss Ian Craig’s management style amid complaints from the three executives – Bill Campbell, engineering director Bill Devlin, and finance director Norman Strachan.
It is understood there have been tensions over Mr Craig’s role in pushing forward the integration of the Capital’s tram and bus services.
No disciplinary action was taken against Mr Craig, who did not attend work at Lothian Buses HQ for ten weeks during the investigation.
Former chair Ann Faulds led the probe and is understood to have been in favour of Mr Craig leaving the firm after its conclusion. Within days, she had resigned.
Last week, it was revealed city transport convener Lesley Hinds had been parachuted on to the firm’s board and a senior council executive was set to join the management team in a bid to get the publicly-owned firm back on track.
Chairman of the Lothian Buses branch of Unite Rab Fraser, said: “The protest was about concerns over the loss of chair Ann Faulds – there is concern over her resignation. Unfortunately, we are struggling to tell our members anything. We just don’t know what is going on. But strike action is not the answer.”
Councillor Joanna Mowat, a non-executive director at Transport for Edinburgh, insisted staff strikes could have “serious implications” and said better communication was the key to going forward.
She said: “There has been issues there recently – but there are channels to go through, and we need to use those channels. This is not worth a strike. It would have such serious implications – Lothian Buses is a frontline service.”
A Lothian Buses spokesman said: “All services and depots are operating as normal and have been all day with a full complement of staff.”