'Social media not the right place to vent about your bosses' - Lothian Bus drivers social media row

A Lothian Bus.
A Lothian Bus.
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A row has broken out between readers over a Lothian bus driver being sacked - and up to 10 being suspended - for complaining about bosses on a closed Facebook group.

Employees at Lothian Buses say the move against colleagues is the latest example of a growing problem of bullying and harassment by management at the council-owned bus company – and some drivers are calling for a walk-out in protest.

Inside sources told the Evening News that a driver was sacked over an "alleged breach of the so-called social media policy," while one of the drivers had his pay stopped.

The source said that one of the issues complained about was the new driver uniforms, and that managers had confronted drivers about wearing hats and headphones.

READ MORE: Lothian Buses drivers face sack for social media posts criticising management
And in one case, he said, a driver was accused of wearing a fleece under his jacket and a manager who wanted to discuss the matter prevented him from leaving the office, even though his shift had finished.

The insider said many are calling it a "witch hunt" and that drivers are increasingly wanting to do something about it, with industrial action a possibility.

However, a spokeswoman for Lothian Buses said the company has a "robust social media policy" with procedures established in agreement with their trade union.

Reacting to the story in today's Evening News, reader Mary Anderson said: "When will people learn that social media is not the place to vent about your bosses - go down the pub or cafe - speak to your Union/ put a proposal to you management regarding your grievances.

"Your employer has a duty of care to you but they also have every right to take the action for instant dismissal for gross misconduct which is what has happened here! Be smart people! Talk to the people in your work who matter and can make a difference."

But Alastair Miller responded: "Here is the deal. The employees vented their displeasure on what should be a closed group. i.e those in power have no access. To sack those involved is an invasion of their privacy. It should not be allowed to happen and good luck to them if they pursue unfair dismissal."

Debbie Young wrote: "People are allowed an opinion about their bosses and most people have something they don’t like about their bosses. Should everyone who doesn’t like their boss be sacked? It was screen shotted from a CLOSED group...."

Jayne Elizabeth Dalgleish said: This is disgusting. They are being bullied for having an opinion, it is called freedom of speech. As for bully bosses the only way to beat them is to strike and stand together."

And Ian Latimer wrote: "You only have to look at how quick the turnover of staff is to see that the management are sadly lacking in management skills. Any other large company would be investigating why they can't retain staff?? The cost of recruiting, training and equipping each new driver must surely be a drain on profits??"

But Sheila Wilson wrote: "Whatever our opinion is, this is actually classed as misconduct so the employers had the legal right to sack them.

"Do I agree with it especially at this time of year, definitely not. A written warning would have sufficed."

Emma Porter also stressed the need to take care when publishing on social media, saying: "It's a shame they feel the need to vent as they all provide a fantastic service. However, all companies I've ever come across all have a Social Media policy which upon employment, the employees would most likely have had to sign to say they agree to that as part of their Contract. Social Media is not the place to talk about issues about work (that's why it's called Social Media not Work media)."