Lothian bus strike off after drivers agree deal with bosses

The planned Lothian Bus strike has been called off after drivers accepted an improved deal (Photo: TSPL)
The planned Lothian Bus strike has been called off after drivers accepted an improved deal (Photo: TSPL)
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The planned strike by Lothian Bus drivers has been called off after drivers agreed to new proposals brought forward by bosses.

Unite the union said the 1,700 membership agreed to the deal which ends any potential strike action during the Fringe.

Last week, union leaders and Lothian Buses management brokered a deal, which led to continuous strike action being suspended

The strike action was initially tabled amid allegations of a “toxic management culture” within Lothian Buses’ management.

Unite regional industrial officer Lyn Turner said: "Our members have the assurances that they required, we look forward on working with the company on the proposals that were agreed today.

"We would like to thank the public for their support they have given us over the last few months."

READ MORE: Edinburgh Lothian Buses strike: These are the terms of the new deal in full

He added: "Unite is pleased that our membership have agreed to the latest set of proposals which address the central issues at the heart of this long running dispute.

"It was only right that further assurances were given on fully addressing the bullying and hostile culture which has existed at Lothian Buses.

"Unite would like to thank the people of Edinburgh for their patience and the great support which they have given to the workers, and also to those representatives at the City of Edinburgh Council who have worked positively with us to resolve this dispute.

"There is hard work ahead to ensure that the workplace culture improves, and Unite will play our full part in delivering a service which the workers and the public can be fully proud of."

More than three quarters of a 67 per cent turnout of Unite members voted in favour of the proposals which focus on improving workplace culture.

The agreement includes the appointment of an independent council officer who will deal with issues of "behaviours and trust", as reported by the Evening News on Tuesday.

It also covers other issues surrounding working conditions, shift lengths and changes to pay.

Transport and environment convener at City of Edinburgh council, Lesley Macinnes, said: “I’m very pleased that both parties have now reached an agreement which avoids the prospect of a deeply damaging period of disruption to our public transport network at the busiest time of the year.”

READ MORE: Edinburgh Lothian Buses strike: Council HR official to oversee 'bullying' investigations

The full terms of the deal are below;

- There will be a high level of review of all cases received from the union in respect of bullying and harassment. If the matters have not been dealt with correctly or appropriately in line with policy, the case will be revisited with the full involvement with Unite.

- An independent HR officer from the City of Edinburgh Council will be brought in to address the issues of “behaviours and trust”. Unite will be involved at every stage of this.

- Unite has assurances from all stakeholders including the City of Edinburgh Council senior officials and elected representatives, that the longstanding issues of a culture of bullying and harassment will be fully addressed.

- Terms and conditions are protected for a period of five years

- The five-day single deck shift will move form a maximum of 12 hours to 9 hours 15 minutes.

- A staggered progression rate will be introduced for single deck drivers, after two years, from £11.81 to £12.81 and, at three years, the full rate will apply.

- The single deck overtime rate will be paid straight through by the end of August.

- Management will consult Unite to look at more three-part shifts for a four-day week. Any changes to this will take place on October 6, 2019.

- The use of vans will be reinstated at Stenhouse/Saughton Road by the year end due to procurement needs. There will be a full job description of employee director produced by the end of August and shared with Unite.