Why bus strikes could hit Leeds and West Yorkshire as union ballots for action

Bus strikes could hit Yorkshire
Bus strikes could hit Yorkshire
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Bus services across West Yorkshire could be hit by strike action with 3,500 First Group workers set to be balloted over industrial action in a row over a ‘bullying culture’ at the transport operator.

Workers employed by First Group across Yorkshire are gearing up to be balloted for strike action over what unions say is the management’s “systematic campaign of anti-trade union activities.”

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, has written separately to the bosses of First West Yorkshire & North Yorkshire, and First South Yorkshire about what they say is 'the anti-union stance created over many years' and warning them that, as a result, there would be ballots for industrial action.

The situation comes to a head tomorrow in Leeds when there is an internal appeal against the dismissal of two Unite senior reps at First West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire for what the union said were ‘trumped up’ allegations.

Unite is demanding their immediate reinstatement. At First South Yorkshire, Unite said that the drivers, engineers, clerical staff and cleaning workers had been subjected to ‘a return to a harsh disciplinary code’ and the undermining of long-standing agreements.

Unite said that certain managers in the two companies were colluding in a campaign of anti-trade union activities – the union said that these executives should be moved out of Yorkshire, so that a better employment relations’ environment can be created.

First West Yorkshire managing director Paul Matthews today said he was aware that Unite was planning a “consultative ballot” in the Bradford area. He also said it was his understanding that the Bradford ballot was linked to a disciplinary appeal.

Mr Matthews said he had not been informed about the union’s wider plans for Yorkshire, but added: “We have a good relationship with Unite and are continuing to work closely with them.”