Socialist Worker

London bus drivers demand the dignity and safety of decent toilets

Issue No. 2065

Bus workers from across London are set to stage a series of protests at key London transport and local government offices on Thursday of this week.

The bus workers, members of the T&G section of the Unite union, are protesting at the lack of toilet facilities on bus routes.

It’s every workers’ right to be treated with dignity at work.

Drivers face real threats to their health if they can’t go to the toilet when they need to—including bladder, kidney and prostate conditions.

London mayor Ken Livingston’s office claims it wants to see more women working on the buses. But women workers’ health can be hit particularly hard. Lack of toilet facilities can put workers at risk of urinary tract infections.

In pregnant women, this condition can lead to low birth weight babies that are at risk of additional health problems.

Leaving drivers without facilities is like something out of the Dark Ages, not the 21st century.

One union rep in west London told Socialist Worker, “There is a real momentum for the protest. People in the garage have been talking about it a lot and we have had really good meetings in the last week.

“As well as the issue of the toilet breaks it is chance to get organised across garages and in different companies. That puts us in a better position to do things over other issues like pay.”

While companies like Arriva, First and Metroline make huge profits, bus workers face low pay, attacks on their pensions, stress, bullying and a lack of respect at work.

If Ken Livingstone and Transport for London don’t listen to the protest this week, there should be a London-wide ballot of bus workers to take industrial action over the issue

Assemble Victoria coach station at 11.30 am. Moving on to TFL headquarters on Victoria Street, Westminster City Hall and end at the headquarters of London city councils

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Tue 21 Aug 2007, 19:11 BST
Issue No. 2065
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