Thousands of Bradford bus users will be hit by a 48-hour strike on 27 and 28 April in a dispute where First West Yorkshire has been accused of allowing services ‘to wither on the vine’.
The 380 bus drivers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, based at the First Bradford depot, Bowling Back Lane, Bradford, BD4 8SP will walk out at 01.30 on Monday 27 April. The strike will end at 01.29 on 29 April.
Unite accuses the company of running the bus depot down with the intention of closing it in the future. The union said also that there were allegations of bullying and harassment on a daily basis.
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.
There has also been an attack on terms and conditions, and the imposition of rosters, without prior consultation and negotiations with the union. 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.”
The drivers have voted by 89 per cent for strike action and by 93 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.
Notes to editors:
For more information you can visit the Unite branch's strike website or vsit Twitter @98branch
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2061 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.