Drivers to strike over Bradford and Halifax depot row

Bradford bus users will be hit by a 48-hour strike next week as drivers walk out in a row over “service cuts”.
First bus depot's, Huddersfield Road, HalifaxFirst bus depot's, Huddersfield Road, Halifax
First bus depot's, Huddersfield Road, Halifax

The dispute centres on the transfer to the Halifax depot of part of the 576 bus service from Bradford to Halifax, with the claimed loss of eight jobs. The bus company disputes this.

The 380 bus drivers at the First Bradford depot, members of Unite, plan to strike all day on Monday and Tuesday.

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Unite had accused the company of running the bus depot down with the intention of closing it in the future. The union also claimed there was “bullying and harassment on a daily basis”.

Unite regional officer Harriet Eisner said: “This blinkered management has let services wither on the vine over the last four years – for example, the number of drivers employed has shrunk from 470 to 380 in that time.

“While the strike on 27/ 28 April will be inconvenient for thousands of bus users, the bigger picture that Unite is fighting for is the maintenance of good and reliable services with top quality buses, properly serviced. We also want our members treated with dignity and respect.

“There is a big shortage of drivers with no recruitment of new drivers and this is coupled with the movement of jobs without consultation from Bradford to other towns.”

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The drivers voted by 89 per cent for strike action and by 93 per cent for industrial action short of a strike.

Emma Taylor, business manager for First in Bradford, said: “I’m very disappointed that Unite intend to strike next week and bring such massive and unnecessary disruption to bus users across the Bradford district.

“I believe this action is completely unjustified when I have given my reassurance to the trade union that there are no jobs at risk and the depot is not closing. In fact our plans in Bradford are for investment and development particularly in line with the expanding retail offer in the next few months.

“The dispute is centred around the reallocation of some staffing duties on the 576 Halifax - Bradford route. This work was moved in January from Bradford to Halifax to balance staff duties and protect jobs in both areas following tender losses at Halifax.

“There are a number of other allegations we strongly dispute and we’ll be seeking further information on these accusations from the trade union at the earliest opportunity.”