Edinburgh tram drivers handed industrial action ballots ahead of possible Christmas and New Year strikes

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, UK - APRIL 20, 2018. Edinburgh City Trams on duty in city centre. Pic: Shutterstock
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, UK - APRIL 20, 2018. Edinburgh City Trams on duty in city centre. Pic: Shutterstock
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Tram drivers in Edinburgh remain on course to strike over the busy Christmas and New Year period.

Unite members of Edinburgh Trams will start receiving industrial action ballots from today, with the ballot closing on November 26th.

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The move has been prompted by anger over what the union describes as “harsh and unjust” disciplinary action against employees.

It follows a consultative ballot where 83 per cent of Unite members on a 96 per cent turnout indicated support for industrial action, which Unite say would mean 63 employees walking out over the dispute.

A statement released by Unite today says that if industrial action is supported, then strike action will commence in the weeks leading up to and covering the Christmas and New Year period.

Unite regional industrial officer, Lyn Turner, said: “The strength of support for an industrial action ballot was rock-solid. The public of Edinburgh should know the reality here, which is that senior management at Edinburgh Trams have so far refused to engage with Unite on the legitimate concerns we have over the damaging and hostile culture which exists."

But Mr Turner said talks are due to take place between the company and the union on November 8th.

Unite members raised a collective grievance in August stating that management were being inconsistent towards dealing with some incidents, which has led to some workers being disciplined while no action taken against others.

Unite insist they have repeatedly tried to get management at Edinburgh Trams to engage with the union on the "unreasonably and inconsistent" disciplinary procedures with no success to date.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Trams said: "We are once again disappointed that Unite have decide to take this action without exhausting internal processes to resolve their concerns. We are confident our disciplinary policy is in accordance with the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) Code of Conduct and is applied both consistently and fairly.

"However, our communication channels remain open ahead of our meeting with Unite on 8 November where we hope to fully understand their objectives."