Socialist Worker

Bus workers fight a multinational for a living wage

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2078

A planned strike of around 2,000 bus workers at the East London Bus Group due to take place on Wednesday was suspended at the last minute after management made an improved pay offer. The offer will be put to the drivers to decide whether or not to accept it.

Future strike days are still planned for Wednesday of next week and for 4 and 5 December, pending the result of the vote.

The workers, members of the Unite union, rejected an offer of 4.65 percent.

One driver from the Stratford depot told Socialist Worker, “That offer is not enough to give us a living wage.

“We have rising rents and rising bills to pay. That’s why we voted to strike.”

The East London Bus Group is owned by Macquarie, a huge Australian investment bank that recently announced half-yearly profits up 45 percent to £462 million.

Macquarie is notorious in the trade union movement for attacking workers.

In January the company used anti-union laws to stop workers at East London Bus Group striking against attacks on their pensions.

In March the GMB union attacked a deal in which Macquarie bought part of the NCP car park operator from the private equity firm 3i.

Workers at NCP Edinburgh struck in June against low pay.

In April Macquarie abolished the final salary pension scheme at telecom company O2 less than an hour after buying the company.

Workers at East London Bus Group are set to picket the seven bus depots in the company.

Stagecoach Manchester

Some 1,300 bus drivers at Stagecoach in Manchester are set to strike on Tuesday of next week November over pay. Five other strike days have been called.

The drivers, members of the Unite union, voted by 94 percent in favour of strikes after a pay offer that would amount to just 50p an hour.

Phil Roberts, the Unite convenor at Stagecoach Manchester, said that workers would be picketing all depots across the city. He said, “We thought we had reached a deal with management, but it turns out that we haven’t. That’s why we are going to strike.”

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Tue 20 Nov 2007, 18:58 GMT
Issue No. 2078
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