Unite the union has today (18 March) confirmed that its membership at Lothian Buses is holding a consultative ballot on potential industrial action. The moves follows Lothian Buses' management withdrawing facility time for the union’s branch chair and branch secretary in response to collective grievances being lodged over poor workplace relations.

Unite has continually stated that there are real concerns over the conduct of senior management which includes delaying an offer by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) for conciliation. The latest development to withdraw facility time for Unite’s representatives is indicative of the unreasonable and unjust way that senior management has dealt with workplace issues. Unless the outstanding issues are addressed immediately including the reinstatement of facility time, then industrial action could result in buses being taken off the streets of Edinburgh.

Unite will now hold a consultative ballot, which opens today and will run until Friday 12 April. Previous action last year was averted following a meeting held at Acas, which led to the signing of a procedural agreement. Unite believed this agreement would provide a fair way to deal with workers' concerns.

Unite regional officer Lyn Turner said: “The hostile and bullying environment being deliberately created by Lothian Buses' management will not go unchallenged. The disgraceful action to withdraw facility time for our union representatives is the latest move to intimidate our members.

“There prevails a culture where workers genuinely fear for their jobs and now Unite members are being denied the opportunity to be effectively represented. We have tried to raise industrial and procedural issues with Lothian Buses' senior management including offering to go to mediation through Acas, but the company has repeatedly frustrated this process. The imminent ballot will determine how we move forward, but I am 100 per cent certain we will be given a mandate to hold a legal ballot, and then Lothian Buses will have a dispute on its hands.”


For more information contact Mr Lyn Turner on 07980871394

Notes to editors:

  • Unite Scotland is the country's biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.