First Bus drivers to begin week-long strike on Black Friday weekend

Unite the union said that bus drivers voted by 99% in support of strike action, with a turnout of 77%.

More than 1,200 First Bus drivers in Glasgow are to strike over Black Friday weekend in a dispute over pay.

Unite the union said that bus drivers voted by 99% in support of strike action, with a turnout of 77%.

The union confirmed that strike action is scheduled to start at 4am on Friday November 24 – one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year before Christmas – and will continue until 3.59am on Friday December 1.

It comes after Unite members rejected a pay offer which they described as “unacceptable” by 99%.

The offer was declined on the basis that it falls significantly below the pay levels of other drivers across First Group’s UK operations, Unite claimed.

The drivers, who are based in the Blantyre, Caledonia, Dumbarton, Overtown and Scotstoun depots, are employed by First Glasgow (No.1) and at First Glasgow (No.2). 

The companies are part of First Group PLC’s bus operations in Scotland.


More than 12,000 First Bus drivers are to strike over one of the busiest shopping weekends in the run-up to Christmas in a dispute over pay. #stvnews #news #firstbus #glasgow

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There is a similar dispute at both companies involving around 150 Unite engineers, with strike action scheduled to take place on November 16 and 17.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary said: “This is a very wealthy company which has plenty of money in the bank to make a better offer to our members. Our members’ demand is simple they want to be paid in line with other drivers across First Group.”

“We will support our First bus drivers all the way in their fight for better jobs, pay and conditions.”

Research by the union found that average pay per employee has failed to keep pace with inflation at either First Bus company, and say that drivers at Glasgow (No.2) have faced a real terms decrease in pay of 10% while those at Glasgow (No.1) seen an 8% decrease over the last five years.

These pay cuts translate to around £3,000 per year in lost pay, the union claimed.

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, added: “The dispute at First Bus is down to our drivers being underpaid and undervalued for a number of years. First bus has millions sitting in the bank and its operations across Greater Glasgow recorded profits of £4.3m last year.

“Unless First bus moves quickly to improve their pay offer then our members will bring bus operations to a stop for a week beginning on 24 November. The ball is now firmly in First Bus’ court whether they want to escalate this dispute or resolve it in a speedy fashion.”

A First Bus spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have been notified of their intention to hold industrial action from November 24 to December 1 inclusive. This is despite us making an offer which would see a pay rise of over 11%, well above the rate of inflation.

“In recent years, First Glasgow has heavily invested in electrifying its fleet as well as making significant pay awards. The investment has exceeded any profit made and has ensured we have a far more sustainable business for the future.

“At First Bus, we look after our people and pay them a fair wage relative to the role they perform in the business. We have invested heavily in improving working conditions and enhanced benefits for our colleagues.

“We will be looking to continue discussions with union representatives in an attempt to reach a resolution.”

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