Health and Safety row at Cumbernauld depot

editorial image

Cumbernauld’s Stagecoach drivers are currently being balloted on strike action after bosses were accused of putting profits above safety.

Union Unite is claiming that more than 120 workers are being forced to work shift patterns that could leave them exhausted at the wheel.

The row centres around long breaks of between two and three hours between running services.Drivers say that this is effectively forcing them to work split shifts.

Unite says these shifts will badly affect the work-life balance of drivers, as well as creating major health and safety concerns.

Wendy Dunsmore who is Unite’s regional officer said: “The shifts and rotas that Stagecoach want to impose are completely unacceptable. We have real concerns that they will put our members and other road users at risk. No reasonable transport company would put profit over safety but we believe that’s what’s happening here.

“Having a rest break of two to three hours in the middle of a shift will massively lengthen the driver’s working day.. How is someone supposed to get proper rest while they are effectively still at work?

“Our members are angry and they want to make the travelling public and other road users aware of what they are trying to do. No union member moves to an official ballot for industrial action without a lot of heart searching but these drivers feel they are simply not being listened to.”

A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: “These rosters comply fully with the strict regulations around driver hours and break time and the same shift arrangements are in place in other parts of Scotland, with the agreement of the Unite union.

“We have a good relationship with the local Unite representatives at the depot and it is disappointing that the union appears to be trying to escalate this while we are involved in constructive discussions with them. In addition, the vast majority of shifts at the depot are unaffected by the issues raised.

“Our current shift patterns allow some drivers more days off each week and we know the current arrangement suits a number of our employees.However, we have taken on board the points raised by the union and have made a series of proposals to refine the shifts and alleviate their concerns.”

The ballot for strike action will close next Wednesday.