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Dial-a-ride drivers take action over bully’ claims

PUBLISHED: 15:09 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:45 25 August 2010

HUNDREDS of drivers who work with disabled people went on strike over claims of bullying and harassment.

HUNDREDS of drivers who work with disabled people went on strike over claims of bullying and harassment.

Around 400 Dial-a-Ride workers, members of Unite union, held industrial action at depots across London last Friday, including those at Lagoon Road, Orpington, which serves thousands of people across Bromley and Bexley.

They claim changes in working conditions, introduced last November, have led to bullying and intimidation by some managers over sickness and absence and drugs and alcohol testing.

Union official Chic Case, 62, said: The changes were implemented without consulting the union. Drug and alcohol testing is trying to be introduced, which we don't mind but if you go and have a glass of wine in the evening you are classed as over the top. Bullying and harassment does go on. We hope the managers will change their mind over how they treat the drivers and give the public a better service because at the moment the service is really bad.

"We have good drivers who care about the customers but we are told we can only take them one way - how can you take a blind man to the doctors and then not return him? It was a good service which has gone down hill. The customers who know we are out on strike are behind us. We get on well with them, we are on first name terms with most because we have been driving them for years. The drivers also claim they are no longer allowed union representatives with them in some managerial meetings.

Unite regional industrial organiser George Dodo-Williams, said: "The drivers are at the end of their tether. We are on strike to send a message to the management that bullying and harassment is not acceptable."

Operations director of London Buses, Mike Weston, said: "The claims by this small minority of Unite members are groundless. Unite was striking about common sense policies, including drug and alcohol testing, which have been working well in other parts of TfL for more than a year.

"We worked hard to make sure we had special arrangements in place so that customers with essential bookings were able to make their journeys.

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