East Sussex bus company votes to strike over ‘bullying’ claims

Brighton and Hove bus service along the coast
Brighton and Hove bus service along the coast

Bus drivers and engineers at Brighton and Hove Buses are set to go on strike, after 83 per cent of its Unite members voted for industrial action.

Brighton and Hove Buses Unite said its union members at Brighton and Hove Buses overwhelmingly backed taking industrial action in a dispute over what the union said is an increasingly ‘draconian’ management style, which has led to accusations of bullying, intimidation and the use of covert surveillance by managers on workers.

The company runs buses along the coast from Brighton to Seaford and Eastbourne – and across most of East Sussex.

This comes as rail union RMT plans a five-day strike next week over conductor roles, and a the TSSA is set to ballot its members on industrial action over the closure of ticket offices. Unite said it had not yet set a date for strike action, but it would need to give Brighton and Hove Buses at least seven days notice.

Janet Henney, Unite regional officer, said: “People used to love working at Brighton and Hove Buses and it used to be held up as local model of good employment.

“This simply is not the case anymore with many of our members dreading going into work.

“They have had enough of being bullied, intimidated and spied on when on sick leave and want to see an end to the ‘draconian’ management style which has created a culture of fear.

“Our members take great pride in keeping Brighton, Hove and Crawley on the move, but as the overwhelming backing for industrial action shows, have reached the end of line.

“Unite urges senior management to stop paying lip service to good industrial relations and start making the firm the model employer it was once again.

“Otherwise our members will be left with little option, but to give up a day’s pay and go on strike.”

Brighton & Hove Buses has been contacted for a comment.

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