Oxford Bus Company denies drivers Christmas holiday pay

‘Scrooge’ Oxford Bus Company denies drivers Christmas holiday pay

22 December 2016
Oxford Bus Company is set to become the UK’s meanest bus company this Christmas, after ‘Scrooge’ bosses refused to pay drivers extra for working on two bank holidays over the festive season.

Unite, the country’s largest union, said that the company, part of the highly profitable Go Ahead Group, was refusing to pay its 350 drivers and other employees extra for working on Tuesday 27 December and Monday 2 January – despite the fact that they are legally recognised bank holidays.   

Unite said that individual drivers were set to lose a £100-a-day, depending on the length of shifts. The drivers don’t have the opportunity of not working on 27 December or 2 January as the company has declared they are normal working days.

Unite regional officer Marie Hall said: “The company is digging in its heels over recognising 27 December and 2 January as bank holidays, even though Unite has had it confirmed by our solicitors that they are official bank holidays.

“Company managing director Phil Southall is firm favourite to be the meanest boss in Oxfordshire with his hard-hearted attitude. The mantle of Scrooge rests easily on his shoulders.

“Our members are set to lose about £100-a-day which they can ill-afford to forego at this expensive time of year, yet the parent company, the Go Ahead Group chalked up nearly £100 million in profit for the year up to July 2016.

“In the past, Oxford Bus Company has recognised and paid the bank holidays, however, it is now saying that the needs of the business mean that it is treating 27 December and 2 January as normal working days.

“Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are the only days that the firm is recognising over the holiday period. This means that members will be working under duress because we have lodged a ‘failure to agree’ over the company’s stance.

“The other tactic the management has used is to delay posting the Christmas duties until the very last minute which did not allow us to react by carrying out an independent industrial ballot organised by the Electoral Reform Society.

“We believe this is all about that extra dollop of greed and making even more profit for the Go Ahead Group and its shareholders.

“This cruel and unnecessary edict to deny holiday pay to the Oxford bus drivers should be withdrawn immediately.”


Notes to editors:

•    The Go-Ahead Group PLC profit before tax increased by £21.1 million or 26.8 per cent from £78.7 million in the year to 26/06/2015 to £99.8 million in the year to 02/07/2016.

•    The City of Oxford Motor Services Ltd profit before tax increased by £122,000 or 3.1 per cent from £3.96 million in the year to 28/06/2014 to £4.082 million in the year to 27/06/2015.

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.


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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.