While both sides are still talking there is still a chance that the strike action by Lothian bus drivers may be averted.
Having rejected the latest offer from management, the drivers are now set to take strike action from 3am this Friday, so the latest round of talks will have to be meaningful and swift as the deadline approaches.
The workforce has claimed that a culture of bullying and harassment exists within Lothian Buses management and the offer of a 2.7 per cent pay increase did not deflect them from their goal of establishing a change in management’s attitude. But there has been little public information about their demands and what response from management would be sufficient for them to call off the strike.
Timed to have the maximum impact in the city, it will no doubt cause some turmoil, not just to festival-goers but the Edinburgh public at large, who will face having their daily commute disrupted.
Management, as expected, have drawn up contingency plans which include drafting in drivers who are prepared to work – in effect, strikebreakers – but this will do nothing to reduce the tension and will undoubtedly provoke union members to dig their heels in.
Picket lines at bus depots are likely to be the order of the day and action could spread to other areas on a scale not seen for years.
The outcome of the current round of talks will determine whether the action will go ahead or not but if both sides approach them with a genuine desire to seek a resolution to this dispute there is good reason to believe that they will be successful.
Let’s hope so.