Aberdeen bus strikes to continue as no solution reached in crunch talks

First bus drivers will take further industrial action
First bus drivers will take further industrial action

There is no end in sight to the disruption of bus services in Aberdeen after crunch talks between striking union members and First Bus broke down yesterday.

Dozens of bus drivers gathered outside the First Bus depot on King Street to protest against the conditions of a new contract by staging a 24-hour walkout.

It was the first of a number of planned days of industrial action.

Further walkouts will take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week, before a seven-day strike starting on March 25.

Yesterday, motorists passing the picket line honked their horns in support – but it was reported that services faced disruption across the city as a result of the strike.

Trade union Unite’s regional officer Willie Wallace said a meeting was held between protesting officials and First Bus, but the talks came to nothing and the action will continue this weekend.

In addition to walkouts, participating members will also refuse to work overtime for the next 12 weeks.

Mr Wallace added: “We had a very good response from Unite members today after the call for industrial action.

“The management at First tried to run a skeleton service, but I think it was a very minimal service that was out today.

“We had talks during the afternoon, but we had to walk away from them because we were unable to resolve the situation, so the action will continue as planned next week.”

David Phillips, operations director for First Aberdeen said: “I would like to thank all of our customers for their patience and understanding today.

“We have managed to deliver a service to 60% of our network so far today, on a reduced frequency timetable.

“To reduce inconvenience to customers whilst the strike action takes place, we have welcomed drivers from other First Bus businesses who have travelled from our sister companies across the UK to assist us in keeping the network operational.

“I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in keeping our buses running today.

“We also had Andrew Jarvis, our managing director and other senior team members from the business behind the wheel driving and looking after our passengers.

“We have held a further meeting this afternoon with our union colleagues, which although useful, regrettably did not reach an agreement to end the industrial action.”