Bus crews’ wildcat walkout threatens pay negotiations

Edinburgh bus drivers have staged a walkout a week before official action is due to begin in a dispute over pay.

About half of Lothian Buses were taken off the road yesterday in response to a letter from employers offering a 5% pay rise over 14 months.

The drivers stood down at depots across the capital, but returned to work after the Transport & General Workers’ Union warned them that the wildcat action was jeopardising official negotiations.

Almost 1,400 staff have backed official strike action starting next Wednesday. Lothian Buses drivers earn just under £8.50 an hour, but unions want the rate to rise to £9 this year.

Talks are due to take place between the two sides today.

Lothian Buses chief executive Neil Renilson defended the decision to send the letter to staff.

“We wanted to ensure that they had the opportunity to vote on the latest revised offer, which has been in place for two weeks and which has not been put to members for a ballot.”

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