Edinburgh Lothian Buses strike: Health bosses draw up plans over fears city's most vulnerable residents could be at risk
Health bosses are drawing up plans to ensure “no-one is left stranded” amid fears a citywide bus strike could prevent social carers being able to reach vulnerable clients.
Around 1,700 Lothian bus drivers will go on continuous strike from 3am on Friday after rejecting a deal by the company’s management.
The strike action was called for amid accusations of a bullying and harassment culture within the company – with 59 per cent of Unite members rejecting the deal.
Talks have been ongoing since the weekend to try and thrash out a deal.
Edinburgh Conservative group chairman, Cllr Jason Rust, has raised contingency planning for council staff travel with the authority’s chief executive, Andrew Kerr.
He said: “The council contract a number of mobile workers who perform essential tasks and there will be a significant impact on staff given the number of employees reliant on our local bus service.
“It is vital that if the strike is to go ahead that the council is fully prepared and there is clear guidance and arrangements in place. I have particular concerns around social care and ensuring that those most in need do not suffer due to this stand-off.”
Leading care provider in the Capital, Social Care Alba, highlighted concerns for staff members – with the vast majority relying on buses.
Founder and CEO, Nataly Wilson said: “This strike is going to have a serious impact on those that require assistance as 95.7 per cent of our current employees use buses as the main form of transport to and from those needing care, so we can only assume that other carers across the city will be depending on buses too.
Health chiefs say contingency measures are being drawn up to ensure care will continue to be provided.
A spokesperson for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Putting the right measures in place to limit disruption to our core services is our number one priority and we’re working very closely with the council and the NHS on the city’s contingency plans.
“This includes arrangements so that we can provide a continued level of care, and with our providers to ensure they too have appropriate resilience measures in place should industrial action go ahead.”