Socialist Worker

Bus workers' strike causes bosses to wilt

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2083

Strikers on the picket line (Pic: Bob Cox)

Strikers on the picket line (Pic: Bob Cox)

Over 375 drivers at Wilts and Dorset bus company struck for 24 hours on Thursday of last week and another 24 hours on Tuesday of this week.

The drivers, members of the RMT union, are in dispute over the company’s imposition of roster times and the length of time they have to drive without a scheduled break.

Management have refused to give a commitment that drivers should not be rostered for more than four and a half hours’ continuous driving.

The union says that driving for longer periods than this without a break is dangerous.

The strikes were solid across the company’s six depots.

On Thursday of last week some 30 drivers held a noisy picket outside the bus garage in Poole.

Bob, a Socialist Worker supporter from the area, visited a number of garages on both the strike days. He said that he had never seen the town of Ringwood so empty due to lack of buses.

At the Lymington garage there were pickets from 6.30am. The drivers said they were confident their strike was

having an effect. They said that one service for students had run but that the other routes were all shut down.

The drivers have twice voted by more than ten to one for strikes. Action scheduled for last July was called off for talks but the union reports that management made no serious attempt to negotiate.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said, “It is pretty rich for Wilts and Dorset to plead that it cannot afford to re-introduce proper breaks when its parent group, Go-Ahead, made more than £55 million in profits from its bus operations last year.

“Wilts and Dorset are putting their profits ahead of drivers’ and passengers’ safety.”

Further strikes have been called for Wednesday of next week and Monday 21 January.

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Article information

Tue 8 Jan 2008, 19:08 GMT
Issue No. 2083
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