Hundreds of staff at bus company to be balloted on strike action

Unite said 200 of its members at Xplore Dundee will be balloted on walkouts from May 5 until May 18.

Over 200 staff at bus company Xplore Dundee to be balloted on strike action after rejecting pay offer Xplore Dundee via Twitter

Hundreds of staff at one of Dundee’s main bus operators could take strike action after rejecting an “unacceptable” pay offer.

Around 200 members of Unite the Union at Xplore Dundee will be asked to vote on strike action after an “overwhelming” rejection of a pay offer amounting to 7%.

The union say the offer falls significantly low of current inflation levels, which sit at 13.5%.

Workers from the company, which also runs Discover Dundee open-top bus tours, will be balloted from May 5 until May 18.

Those balloted include bus drivers, duty managers, platform staff and administrative workers based at the East Dock Street depot.

It comes after it was reported that the company’s annual sales had risen by £3m year-on-year – despite a “difficult” period for the firm.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Xplore Dundee workers are rightly demanding a fair and decent pay rise. The company has significantly improved its finances and come through the Covid pandemic in a good position.

“Xplore Dundee can afford to pay more but they are instead offering a real terms pay cut which is unacceptable. Unite will support our members in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Dougie Maguire, Unite regional coordinating officer said: “Unite has repeatedly tried to engage with Xplore Dundee but we have hit a brick wall in pay talks. Management have now essentially said there is a 7% take it or leave it offer in the full knowledge that our members have emphatically rejected it.

“It is Xplore Dundee escalating this dispute, potentially to strike action, rather than getting back round the table with us to resolve this with an improved pay offer.”

A spokesperson for Xplore Dundee said: “We have negotiated in good faith with Unite over many months to try and find a resolution on pay. The majority of those Unite are representing are Dundee based drivers who are amongst the highest paid bus drivers in the UK outside of London.

“The 7% pay rise put forward was a fair offer that sought to balance increased wages for our staff with the need to keep the business from going into the red.

“Where we do agree with Unite is when they state that a brick wall has been hit in pay talks – this is something Xplore Dundee finds deeply regrettable. We have offered alternative options, including a lucrative two-year deal, but Unite is unwilling to compromise. This is more about saving face than the cost of living.”

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