City’s only bus operator to be brought to a stop

Unite the union announced today (25 May) that around 200 workers employed by Xplore Dundee backed strike action in a dispute over pay.

The bus workers based from the East Dock Street depot emphatically 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. 

The ballot result follows the workforce having overwhelmingly rejected a 7 per cent pay offer made by Xplore Dundee.  Unite confirmed there has been no improvement on this offer, and that it will set out the schedule of industrial action to impact Xplore Dundee in the coming days.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Xplore Dundee workers have emphatically backed strike action. The company need to realise, and quickly, that our members are not prepared to accept what amounts to a pay cut.

Xplore Dundee can pay more and they must because if they don’t the City’s only bus operator will be brought to a stop. Unite will always back our members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

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.

Unite understands that in the evenings there are examples of routes normally serviced by four buses now being left with one. This is the equivalent to a bus arriving every hour rather than one every fifteen minutes.  

Drivers are also being taken off stage carriage work to cover the intercity Flix bus contract which is leaving Dundee citizens without a service.

Dougie Maguire, Unite regional coordinating officer said: Xplore Dundee management have cut the number of workers, despite regularly being unable to provide a full service to the public.  

Unite is aware of multiple employment contracts at the company and there is no access to a company sick pay scheme or an overtime rate. Drivers are also carrying holidays forward from previous years and rates of pay have fallen behind other bus operators across Tayside and Fife.”

Unite’s members won’t tolerate this situation any longer. We urge Xplore management to use the time period before any strike action wisely.”

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.