An indefinite bus strike has been postponed – so drivers can vote on an offer from bosses.
Following two days of talks with the Advisory, Conciliatory and Arbitration Service (ACAS), First Bus has made an offer to Unite the Union that shows a “a significant enough shift in the company’s position.”
A ballot has been scheduled to take place tomorrow and Monday, leaving the indefinite strike postponed until the final decision is made.
Willie Wallace, Unite regional officer, 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.”
If the ballot is unsuccessful, Mr Wallace said that the drivers will be back on the picket line on Wednesday.
He said: “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, 11th April.
“If the members say no we’ll be back on the picket line next Wednesday.”
David Phillips, operations director for First Aberdeen, said: “Following collective conciliation talks supported by ACAS, we are pleased to announce that First Aberdeen has today negotiated an agreed position with Unite the Union representatives.
“Unite have now agreed to suspend the indefinite industrial action planned for Friday, 6th April to allow this final offer to be put to a workplace ballot during the course of Friday 6th and Monday 9th April.
“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 and whilst there has been a compromise on both sides, this final offer is one that will help the company achieve this goal. The new proposal has been negotiated by both sides during collective conciliation supported by ACAS and this means that we will see services returning to normal as soon as possible.
“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. The downturn in the local economy and falling revenue on some routes meant that the current financial position could not be maintained. We are pleased that our focus can now return to providing the best possible bus service for our customers as we look towards a brighter future for the business.
“I would like to thank ACAS for their expert facilitation in helping us to reach this agreement. Hopefully now we can all move on and work together to get the city of Aberdeen moving again. This dispute has only served to highlight to everyone just how vital our bus services are to the people of Aberdeen and we would like to thank our customers for their patience during this period.”