Talks to end Aberdeen’s bus strike have broken down again.
First Aberdeen bus drivers are currently on a week-long strike following a row with the firm over contract conditions.
There were hopes that today’s talks would lead to a breakthrough and industrial action would be called off.
However, negotiations have broken down, prompting Unite the Union to hit out at the firm.
First Bus management said there was a sticking point on agreed wage rates for new drivers and the talks were adjourned.
Unite First Bus Branch convenor Mike Flinn said: “It’s no wonder that the drivers are ready to go on indefinite strike. And it’s no wonder the mood is getting more hard line. These proposals mean that many drivers will be losing more than £5,000 a year on their earnings. The First Bus Managing Director likes to talk about give and take. Well it’s Unite members that are doing the giving and First Bus doing the taking.
“We thought we had reached a proposal which could be put to our members. But every time we get to that point First demands more and more. They don’t know the meaning of ‘enough’. What are we supposed to do – sign these new contracts on our knees?”
Andrew Jarvis, managing director for First Aberdeen, said: “I can confirm that First Aberdeen today met officials from Unite the Union for further talks on behalf of their members, but despite broad agreement over the vast majority of the issues, unfortunately, we have once again been unable to reach an agreement that the officials feel they can put to the drivers.
“Despite significant improvements to the original proposal and our senior team having made every effort over the course of the last week to engage in meaningful negotiations and bring this unnecessary action to a close, we are extremely disappointed and frustrated by this recent negotiation failure, but remain open and available for talks with our union colleagues, as we have done throughout this process, to seek an immediate solution.
“I would like to apologise to customers for this ongoing action and although we again increased the amount of services on offer today, it is still nothing like a normal level of frequency or duration. We are working hard to further improve the services again this week and I would like to thank people for their patience.”