Glasgow and West Central Scotland workers involved in brewing pay dispute

 Unite, Scotland’s leading trade union confirmed today (14 September) that around 150 First Bus engineers will be balloted on strike action after the workers emphatically rejected a pay offer.

Engineers across a number of major bus depots overwhelmingly rejected an offer put forward by First Glasgow (No1) and First Glasgow (No 2). 

Both companies are part of First Group PLC’s bus operations in Scotland. First Glasgow (No1) operates within Glasgow while First Glasgow (No 2) operates in West Central Scotland. The workers involved in the ballot are based in the following bus depots: Blantyre, Caledonia, Dumbarton, Overtown and Scotstoun.

The ballot opens on 14 September and closes on 28 September. If the ballot for strike action is successful then action is expected to take place from the middle of October 2023.

Sharon Graham Unite general secretary said: “First Bus is a profitable operation with the two companies we are balloting posting joint profits of over £4m last year. First Bus can pay more and they must pay more. If they do not then 150 engineers will be out on strike action very soon fighting to secure the pay rise they deserve. We will support our First Bus members all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Unite research has found that average pay per employee has not kept pace with inflation at either First Bus company, with a real terms decrease of 10 per cent at Glasgow (No 2) and eight per cent at Glasgow (No 1) over the last five years. These pay cuts translate into around £3,000 per year in lost pay.

First Glasgow (No1) reported profits after tax year ending 26 March 2022 of £3.96m, whereas First Glasgow (No 2) reported a profit of £362,000. First Group PLC Executive director Ryan Mangold saw his total remuneration package hit a staggering £3.1m in 2023 up from £1.9m in the previous year (1).

Pat McIlvogue, Unite industrial officer, added: First Bus is pleading poverty but the only ones getting a poor deal are our members who continue to be paid below inflation. The boardroom instead continues to see executive pay explode. The last pay deal our members received amounted to 5.5 per cent over two years. We are now in a situation where inflation skyrocketed into double figures for fifteen months in a row. Our members deserve a far better offer and First Bus has an opportunity to make that offer before strike action starts.”


Notes to Editors: 

1.   First Group PLC Annual Report 2023 (Page 118)