ANGER OVER pay is continuing to make itself felt among Britain's low paid bus workers.
Striking Stagecoach bus drivers in Worthing won toots of support from passing motorists when they held a protest on the Saturday before Christmas. Some 53 drivers stood on the picket line from 6am, having walked out at midnight. They struck against a management-imposed pay and bonus deal.
The workers were set to get a £10 a week bonus for full attendance. But if a worker had a day off, they were to lose the whole month's bonus, not just the week's.
Stagecoach had to resort to getting scab managers to drive buses during the 12-hour strike. Managers were brought in from across the country and put up in the three-star Chatsworth Hotel where rooms cost £120 per night.
The bus workers are in the TGWU union. Their branch secretary, Paul Cowell, was delighted with the amount of support given to the striking drivers: "The public supports us. On the day management imposed the pay deal, it also put up bus fares by 4.5 percent. All we are asking for is a decent wage. I work 12-hour shifts four days a week and take home just £200."
THREE ONE-day strikes at Trent Buses in the run-up to Christmas affected services in parts of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
Managers at the East Midlands bus company were forced to open new talks with the union on Christmas Eve. More talks are planned. The workers are fighting for higher pay rates for drivers.
BARROW BUS drivers have backed proposals for a county-wide strike. If the strike action goes ahead in the new year it will be the first strike by bus drivers in Cumbria.
The 80 Barrow drivers voted with 300 colleagues elsewhere in the county to reject a pay offer by employers Stagecoach Cumberland and to support strike action in a bid to get an improved deal.
A BUS strike on Tyneside was called off at the last minute, just before Christmas.
Bus drivers at Go North East had planned a one-day stoppage on routes in South Shields on 19 December. The TGWU union, which represents the workers, says the company has made a new, improved pay offer to its members following talks.
A THREE-day strike by bus drivers in Greater Manchester was called off just before Christmas.
Drivers working for Stagecoach had planned to walk out on 20 December in a row over pay. Emergency talks between managers at Stagecoach and representatives from the TGWU union averted the action. But future strikes have not been ruled out.