Management at East London Bus Group turned to the anti-union laws at the last minute to get a court injunction against strike action that was due to take place on Monday.
Members of the T&G union at the ten garages in the bus group voted overwhelmingly for action against attacks on their final pension salary scheme.
They were angry at management’s attempts to increase members’ contributions to the pension without raising their own contribution.
The union reps only heard very late on Friday that the strike had been stopped.
The dispute involves up to 4,000 bus workers, twice the number involved in the recent strikes by Metroline workers in north London.
A leaflet circulated by T&G reps said that union members should take inspiration from the Metroline strikes’ success.
Workers coming into work on Monday were very angry that the management – having lost the argument with the workforce – turned to the anti-union laws to stop the strike. “This is bosses justice – it’s what we expect from them,” one driver told Socialist Worker.
Another driver pointed to the huge profits that the company make from the bus workers. “They are profiteers,” he said. One union member said, “They are just making money from us. Of course they could afford to fund our pensions.”
The East London Bus Group is run by Macquarie, a huge Australian investment bank that made £292 million profits in just six months last year.
Ismael Kanu, a senior T&G rep at the company, told Socialist Worker that he was outraged that, nearly ten years into a Labour government, the anti-trade union laws still have not been repealed and are still being used against democratic union decisions.
“The T&G, like many unions, gives money to the Labour Party,” he said. “And what do they do with it? Spend it on war. They take the money and ignore the unions – they should have scrapped the anti-union laws years ago.”
The union is planning to challenge the court injunction. Another strike was planned for Monday of next week.
Protest to email@example.com
Leeds First Bus workers ballot
Bus workers at First Bus in Leeds are to ballot on a new pension deal. Around 1,000 workers struck for a day in December.
One of the T&G reps at First Bus in Leeds told Socialist Worker, “The lesson is that strike action can move the company and win concessions.”
Overtime ban at Stagecoach in Bedford
More than 230 bus drivers working at Stagecoach in Bedford have been holding an overtime ban since Christmas in a dispute over pay.
The members of the T&G union have rejected two pay offers from Stagecoach. They held a ballot in November in which just under 60 percent voted for strikes.