An employment tribunal has ruled that bus drivers who had the terms of their contracts altered were not unfairly dismissed.
A panel of Douglas Stewart, Peter Murcott and Fiona Robinson heard evidence over three days last month, and on Thursday reached a majority decision, with Mr Murcott dissenting.
The long-running dispute came to a head when drivers were dismissed and then offered their jobs back with reduced terms and conditions, including the loss of paid lunch breaks.
Two drivers, David Kelly and Stephen Cowin, were the test cases, among 63 drivers claiming unfair dismissal,
Unite Union boss, Bobby Morton, this morning (Friday) responded to the decision and revealed that more negotiations are planned.
He said: ‘Once the full reasons for the decision are received we will meet with our legal team to consider whether we have grounds for an appeal.
‘The dispute is still live, we haven’t gone away and Bus Vannin have now agreed to meet us on Thursday.
‘I’ve always said, during the 18 months of this dispute, that it will only ever be settled around the negotiating table.’
Meanwhile, a statement released by the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure this morning appears to view the tribunal’s decision as the beginning of the end of the dispute.
DCCL chief executive Colin Kniveton said: ‘I am pleased that the tribunal has now concluded and this matter has been resolved before the dissolution of the DCCL.
‘I commend the entire public transport staff, particularly the drivers themselves, for their professionalism and commitment to the public whilst the tribunal has been ongoing.’
‘Throughout this process, Unite the Union have strongly defended their members and the Department has done all it can to act fairly and in the public interest. I know tensions have been high in the past but hopefully this brings an end to the industrial dispute and we can now focus on delivering the best public transport service possible.’
The employment panel has said that ‘full written reasons for the decision will follow as soon as reasonably practicable’.