Many union activists on the buses are worried that the “British jobs for British workers” slogan will set back their struggle to build unity among workers.
Paul Brandon, Unite union rep at Holloway bus garage in north London, told Socialist Worker, “This slogan will give confidence to any racist elements that exist in the workplace.”
He pointed out that the unity of workers from different backgrounds has been a real strength in their struggle for better pay and conditions.
“The successful picket lines during the strikes on the London buses last year demonstrated that workers from all over the world can come together and fight for a common cause and for common aims.
“That is the right way to take the fight for jobs forward.”
There have been many arguments in the bus industry over the role of migrant workers, in particular the recruitment of drivers from Poland.
In many parts of the country unions have specifically set out to recruit and involve these drivers.
Activists have also consciously fought to break down divisions between different groups and nationalities in the garages.
In Aberdeen, for example, large numbers of Polish drivers joined the picket lines when Stagecoach drivers struck at the end of last year.
Some now fear that the strikes for “British jobs” will set back this unity.