Hundreds of bus workers will begin voting for strike action today (Friday 8 November) to defend their union convenor from what they believe is an unjustified campaign of bullying and intimidation by company bosses (see notes to editors).

Unite regional officer Janet Wall said: “Ballot papers will begin dropping through drivers’ letter boxes today. Yellow Buses in Bournemouth has created a poisonous working environment because of the unjustified attack on Martin Conder, a well-respected shop steward with 13 years unblemished service.

“With the ballot result due on 21 November, a strike could happen over the Christmas period if workers vote for action. Management can end this dispute in a stroke if the company drops this ill-judged disciplinary. We hope management thinks again and gets back to business as usual for the residents of Bournemouth.”


Notes to editors

A well respected shop steward Martin Conder 52 was assaulted by a passenger whilst driving the 1a bus on 7 October to Bournemouth. Another passenger came to Martin’s aid and the instigator was removed from the bus and left on the street.

There were no complaints from passengers and Mr Conder followed procedure and reported the incident to management at Yellow Buses. Astonishingly, management then tried to sack Martin. They failed but the senior union representative was given a final written warning. Martin’s appeal is due on 15 November. Mr Conder sought advice from the police. He was told he had done the right thing but management are pressing ahead with this ill-judged disciplinary.

During the disciplinary Martin was told by bosses he should have used his mobile phone to report the incident but having a mobile phone switched on in the driver’s cab is against the company’s own regulations and using a mobile phone could even result in the sack. But the behaviour of management has exposed their own failings; for at least three months every bus has been without an operational two way radio communication system in the cabs.

  • Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values. Secure Work: fighting for jobs and job security, Strong Voice: a union which is a respected voice at work and Decent Pay: a union focused on pay and conditions.

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.