City bus drivers will return to work as normal today after an indefinite strike was called off following two days of crisis talks.
Representatives from Unite the Union and First Bus met with arbitration agency ACAS this week amid a protracted dispute over changes to workers’ terms and conditions.
Drivers were initially planning on walking out today – with no end date for their industrial action set – but they will now be balloted over whether or not to accept a new deal from their employer and end the disagreement.
Unite regional officer Willie Wallace said: “From the union’s point of view there has been a significant enough shift in the company’s position to justify putting the new offer to the First Bus drivers.
“Of course it will be for the members to decide whether they think the new offer has been sufficiently improved to justify accepting it.”
Members will be balloted on the new offer over the weekend.
If it is rejected, workers are expected to down tools from Wednesday and put more pressure on the transport firm’s bosses.
Mr Wallace added: “It has been agreed through the necessary channels that should the members reject the new offer then indefinite strike action to fight for an improved deal will start on Wednesday April 11.
“If the members say ‘No’ we’ll be back on the picket line next Wednesday.”
Union members overwhelmingly rejected the initial offer, which First said was necessary to protect jobs in the current economic downturn.
Unite claimed that the changes, which affected working hours and holiday entitlements, would have left some workers £5,000 worse off each year.
Last night First Aberdeen’s operations director David Phillips said he is “satisfied” that a compromise has now been reached.
“Our aim at the start of this process was to find an agreement that helps us to secure the future of the business in the city,” he said.
“Whilst there has been a compromise on both sides, this final offer is one that will help the company achieve this goal.
“We are satisfied that the final offer will also help us maintain services to customers as well as current workforce levels in the face of challenging economic conditions in Aberdeen.”