Up to 35 jobs are at risk at Xplore Dundee as the bus company deals with tumbling passenger numbers.
Managers and unions are currently locked in negotiations. They are wrestling with how to make savings while protecting jobs and workers’ terms and conditions.
Staff have been aware since last year that falling passenger numbers would likely end up in job losses. The grim start to 2021 has only made things worse for staff at the city transport company.
Bosses have told workers 35 jobs could go in a “worse case” scenario. But there are concerns the final tally could be as high as 50.
Trade union Unite have submitted an 11th hour savings proposal to management.
Dougie Maguire, Unite Scotland regional co-ordinating officer, said they had around 300 members in the Xplore Dundee workforce.
He said: “My members are Dundonians themselves and they want to provide the best possible service for people in the city.
“We’ve been in extensive negotiations with Xplore Dundee since August last year to try and resolve the long term budgetary issues of Xplore Dundee while protecting Unite members terms and conditions.
“We’ve made a number of proposals to the employer to try and help them mitigate their loss as well as safeguard the long term future for jobs in the company.
“We hope to reach a negotiated settlement, but we know there is going to be some pain ahead.”
The news comes a week before the company introduces service reductions designed to put it on a “more sustainable footing.”
Xplore Dundee previously hoped 70-80% of passengers travel would return in 2021. Numbers dropped as low as 13% of the previous total during lockdown.
The cuts – described as the biggest change to city services since the 1950s – have prompted an angry reaction from communities.
Securing long term future for Dundee buses
Managing director Christine McGlasson announced the reductions in November, ahead of family firm McGill’s Buses buying the company at the end of December last year.
Ms McGlasson said: “We’ve been working hard for months on ways to ensure resilience and recovery for Xplore Dundee, taking into account the significant reduction in passenger numbers which is expected even when the pandemic is over.
“Our drivers were informed several weeks ago that our plans to secure the long-term future of our business may involve a small number of redundancies. However we don’t yet know when – or even if – this will happen, due to the constantly changing circumstances of the pandemic.
“We will be keeping our workforce fully informed of the situation as it develops – and of course we still hope that this action may not be necessary at all, if in fact more people return to our buses as restrictions are lifted.”