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Dai Powell's Blog - Why drive a bus in Jersey?

Why Drive a Bus in Jersey?

As everyone knows there is a dispute between Unite and LibertyBus. Sadly, this did not come as much of a surprise to us as we were told before we took over the contract that this would happen and, as predicted, the Union have been trying very hard to make sure it does. There has been a ballot for strike action, as action of first resort - we found this very aggressive - but that is where we are.

Two things have surprised me. First, the level of support given to LibertyBus by the public – I have seen this on our own emails but very much so on the comments pages in the press, from our staff at liberation station and from general conversations with the public. This is really heartening and it makes us even more committed to making a bus service that all Islanders can be proud of.

The second thing that has surprised me is less positive, as in some cases, there has been hostility directed at our drivers over the threatened industrial action. This does cause me some concern, and it is important that the position of LibertyBus is made clear.

We seem to be in dispute with the Union and not the majority of our drivers.

We have some fantastic drivers at Liberty Bus, the ethos is changing and the drivers are becoming much more customer focused. It is not an easy job but increasingly the customer quality is improving and I have huge respect for the majority of our staff who, I feel, are starting to do a wonderful job.

Something I have noticed over the last few months is how much many of the drivers enjoy working for LibertyBus. I have even been hugged by a driver who for years was not allowed full time work and now that all work is allocated equally he has the job of his dreams. I have had drivers thank us for the atmosphere being more relaxed and less intimidating, and many drivers saying we don’t want a dispute, however, intimidation will always happen.

Until this dispute was made public we were starting to get consistent positive comments about our drivers, which was encouraging. However, the dispute has focused people’s minds. My plea to the public in Jersey is please do not demonise our drivers for this dispute, the majority want to do a great job for the people of Jersey.

We will do our utmost to resolve the dispute without strike action, but at the end of the day we will not budge on our desire to ensure that Liberty Bus is run for the benefit of all the people of Jersey.
I would like to thank the people of Jersey for both their continued support but also their understanding - so many of our drivers are trying to do a wonderful job, so many do not want this dispute and, in difficult times, we all need to smile.

Dai Powell


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