Dispute to hit Glasgow and Aberdeen bus depots as workers demand more than minimum wage

Unite the union has confirmed today (Tuesday 21 February) that Bidvest Noonan workers contracted to clean and refuel buses for First Bus in Glasgow and Aberdeen are set to strike in a dispute over pay.

Over 100 cleaners, fuellers and shunters contracted to work in First Glasgow and First Aberdeen bus depots are striking after previously rejecting a two per cent pay offer backdated to 2022 at a time when the broader cost of living (RPI) has hit 13.4 per cent. 

Wages at the company start at £9.62 per hour, far below the £10.42 per hour that will be the national minimum wage from April. Bidvest Noonan made a profit of £9.5m for the year ending June 2022, up from £5.96m in year ending June 2021.

According to Unite, with cleaning, refuelling and re-charging of the electric buses not carried out on the days of industrial action, buses across both Glasgow and Aberdeen may have to be taken off the roads for safety and re-charging reasons. 

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Bidvest Noonan’s pay offer is totally unacceptable. This company is making millions and can well afford to pay fairly. It has no excuse for not doing so.

“Quite simply, these buses couldn’t operate without our members who have Unite’s full support as they stand up for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

The strike action will take place at the Glasgow and Aberdeen depots from 15:00 hours on Wednesday 1 March, concluding at 06:00 hours on Saturday 4 March 2023.  It will recommence at the Aberdeen depot at 15:00 hours on Wednesday 8 March, concluding at 06:00 hours on Saturday 11 March (see notes to editor).

The contract workers in both cities were outsourced by First Bus in Glasgow in 2016, and then December 2020 in Aberdeen.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer said: “The strike action by Unite members working for Bidvest Noonan will lead to First Bus having to take buses off the roads in Aberdeen and Glasgow.

“The two per cent offer backdated to last year is totally unacceptable to our members. This dispute is a problem of First Bus’s own making because they outsourced these workers years ago.  Unite is demanding that they be brought back in-house and paid fairly.”


Notes to Editors

Bus depots to be impacted by strike action

395 King Street, Aberdeen, AB24 5RP

5 Glasgow Road, Blantyre, G72 0LA

100 Cathcart Road Glasgow, G42 7BH

1073 South Street Glasgow G14 0AQ

Birch Meadow, Dumbarton, G82 2RE

5 Castlehill Road, Wishaw, ML2 0QS

For media enquiries contact: Andrew Brady on 07810 157922 or [email protected]

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.