Bristol Bus drivers are to vote on strike action after scores of them were sacked or disciplined for finishing their routes early.
The Evening Post has learned that 14 Bristol-based First drivers have lost their jobs in the last two weeks, with many others on final warnings for running a few minutes ahead of schedule.
Union members met last night in the city centre and agreed to hold a ballot to decide if strike action should be taken. If drivers vote in favour, Bristol's public transport network could grind to a halt.
Drivers have told the Post they feel that disciplinary procedures have been unfairly applied by First in reaction to a report on reliability from the Government's Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.
Outside last night's meeting some drivers claimed VOSA was setting impossible targets in a climate of increasingly difficult circumstances, including congestion and abuse from customers.
One driver sacked for being early had 35 years' service and was just eight months off retirement, the Post has been told. Many others had worked for the company for years.
First has refused to reveal exactly how many of its drivers have been affected but the Post has been told that up to 140 - almost a fifth of the firm's Bristol-based drivers - are facing disciplinary action.
Drivers have said that colleagues who arrived at bus stops more than five minutes early have been given the chop. Others arriving ahead of schedule but by less than five minutes have been given final warnings - all regardless of their previous employment record.