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Arbitration Breaks Down in Bus Strike

Wednesday, September, 21, 2016

The Bus strike regarding drivers and the First company is now expected until Christmas, as the union that represents drivers is no longer participating in arbitration with ACAS. The union representatives had agreed to participate in the talks, which were intended to find a resolution to the ongoing pay dispute between 110 drivers from Bridport and Weymouth. Now, the representatives claim the bosses from First made draconian demands and wanted conditions imposed before talks could even begin. They also required arbitration talks and results to be legally binding.

According to the representatives, bus drivers voted to reject these conditions and wanted an industrial action ballot to be held, which would mean an additional 12 week strike action that would run beyond Christmas and into the New Year. One union representative stated, “[First] …wanted a clause saying there could be no industrial action for three months following arbitration talks. This could have meant that company sacking the drivers and they could not take any action to protect their jobs. Again, that is not fair. We now have several weeks before the result of the next industrial action ballot is known, which could see strikes continuing into the Christmas period. We would urge management to use this interval to negotiate a fair settlement and end this misery that the company by its anti-union actions is inflicting on the travelling public.”

According to the managing director of First, the union never had an intention of entering talks and stated it is playing games. He called the latest development “very disappointing” and stated the union has acted irresponsibly and without “sound reason or judgement” throughout the process thus far.