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First bus drivers in Glasgow could strike over service cuts

Drivers believe slashing running times and recovery times will endanger the public's safety.

First: Drivers could strike. eastleighbusman

First bus drivers in Glasgow could strike due to cuts in services.

Employees believe plans for running times and recovery times for drivers to be slashed, which are set to launch in October, will endanger the public’s safety.

Unite the union also believes the move is aimed at increasing profits.

The organisation also believes there will be less buses available to the public.

The ballot will take place in September, with drivers expected to vote in favour of strike action.

Mick Dowds, Unite’s national convener, said: “Unite members are furious that at a time when public safety is paramount and after Unite welcomed the speed awareness agreement alongside supporting other health and safety initiatives such as ‘Destressing the Driver’, First Glasgow is blatantly scurrying around with a new set of rosters.

“This will directly impact on drivers’ well-being and could have a catastrophic effect on passengers and the public.”

“First Group announced some time ago that it intended to sell its passenger operations including its flagship First Glasgow company.

“This latest development highlights exactly why Unite has been calling on local authorities such as Glasgow to bring passenger services back into public and municipal ownership.

“This is essential to ensure services meet the needs of communities and those most vulnerable in society rather than having diminished services in the chase for profit.”

Andrew Jarvis, managing director of First Bus, said: “We are disappointed that our trade union colleagues have decided to go public with their concerns given we are at an early stage in the process. I can confirm that nothing as yet has been registered with the traffic commissioner’s office and we are still very much in the consultation phase of the proposed network changes that Unite has raised concerns over.

“We are striving to make things better for the customer by making bus travel simple, speeding up bus boarding times, reducing journey times wherever possible, using data to make better operational decisions and developing a customer relationship as opposed to a transactional one. As part of this process, we are using data to assess our network performance across a number of areas including running time.”

He added: “These proposals will be fully reviewed and tested as is our standard practice in this scenario and nothing as yet is set in stone. We would always seek the input of our trade union colleagues and staff in this scenario to ensure their feedback is taken into account.

“The safety of our staff, customers and other road users are our number one priority and this is something we will never compromise on. It is disappointing that our trade union colleagues have taken this decision at such an early stage in the process and we remain willing to discuss further to address their concerns.”


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