Blame for 12 weeks strike action lies with company management for failure to move on pay

Unite the union announced today (9 June) that around 200 workers employed by Xplore Dundee will take twelve weeks strike action in a dispute over pay.

The bus workers based from the East Dock Street depot will begin the strike action from Monday (12 June) lasting until 3 September.

Unite’s members recently supported strike action by 93 per cent on an 88.6 per cent turnout. Unite members involved in the ballot included drivers, duty managers, platform staff, and administrative staff. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “If Xplore Dundee want to avoid strike action they can do so by significantly improving their pay offer. Surely it’s recognised that the union members’ vote for industrial action is an indication of their determination to get a better deal.

Xplore Dundee can pay more and so they have the means by which to resolve this dispute. Unite will always back our members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Unite members rejected a 7 per cent pay offer made by Xplore Dundee, which has not been improved upon to date. The trade union can confirm that despite entering discussions with Xplore Dundee under the auspices of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) today (9 June), no progress was made on pay to avert the strike action beginning on Monday (12 June).

Unite analysis shows that sales at Xplore Dundee have grown by 10.4 per cent since 2017 reaching £17.20 million in 2022. Average pay per employee has fallen in real terms by 14 per cent over the same period.  

Dougie Maguire, Unite regional coordinating officer said: Xplore Dundee management in a last ditch attempt to stop the imminent strike action sought talks with us through Acas. It was a cynical move on the last day possible when they have had months to resolve this dispute.

The only thing that will prevent strike action from happening is if the company significantly improve their pay offer. It’s really that simple. Either the company value their workers and are prepared to pay them the going rate, which they can well afford, or do they instead want strike action.” 

Unite estimates that its members working for Xplore Dundee have now fallen behind their closest comparators across Tayside and Fife.  The trade union claims that workers in other bus companies enjoy more competitive rates of pay, and they have access to overtime rates of pay and a company sick pay scheme, in contrast with Xplore Dundee.  

Drivers are also regularly refused holiday leave and have to carry holidays forward from previous years. The current estimate is that there are up to 200 days of untaken leave.