Unite accuses of First West Yorkshire of allowing services to wither on the vine

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Unite,

Unite Bradford bus strikeHundreds of Bradford bus drivers today begin a 48-hour strike over jobs, attacks on their terms and conditions and allegations of bullying.

The main issue in dispute is the transfer of part of the 576 bus service from Bradford to Halifax with the loss of eight jobs when it will be operated by the Halifax depot. The Unite members accuse First West Yorkshire of allowing services ‘to wither on the vine’.

The union also opposes the imposition of rosters, without prior consultation and negotiations. This was an abrupt change to the existing good relationship between the union and local management.

Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: “This blinkered management has let services wither on the vine over the last four years – for example, the number of drivers employed has shrunk from 470 to 380 in that time.

“While the strike on 27/ 28 April will be inconvenient for thousands of bus users, the bigger picture that Unite is fighting for is the maintenance of good and reliable services with top quality buses, properly serviced. We also want our members treated with dignity and respect.

“There is a big shortage of drivers with no recruitment of new drivers and this is coupled with the movement of jobs without consultation from Bradford to other towns.

“This situation is compounded by inadequate engineering of the buses and the recycling of old buses. Many buses are unreliable – with all the health and safety considerations that this state of affairs raises.

“The management needs to wake up and take the union’s legitimate concerns seriously.

“The company has been dragging its feet in talks with Unite and we have been left with no option, but to call this strike, so the citizens of Bradford get the service they deserve and pay for.

“We call on management to jettison its macho stance and get back to mutually respectful and meaningful negotiations to avoid this damaging strike.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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