Socialist Worker

Danger in new grades for Metroline bus workers

Issue No. 2143

Bus workers at Metroline in north London voted last week by around 82 percent to accept a 4.2 percent pay offer.

In a dangerous development, the offer is to be part funded by setting up new starter grades for drivers with different rates depending on whether drivers join the company with a PSV licence or not.

The picture of voting was very varied from garage to garage.

At three garages more than 20 percent voted to reject the deal, showing that many drivers still felt it was possible to win more.

A driver from the Cricklewood garage told Socialist Worker, “This is a disappointing result after a year of campaigning.

“I don’t think we should have accepted an offer that we have already rejected three times. It will only work out at about £4 a day more for me I think.

“The new starter rates are a real problem. They are potentially divisive and will make it cheaper for the company to employ new, inexperienced drivers. It will mean economic pressure for them to dismiss longer-term staff.”

Metroline is the last major company in London to settle its 2008 pay claim. It has been a long campaign, which has involved thousands of drivers from different companies in joint strike action.

Many Unite union activists feel that important lessons have been learnt during the campaign.

The Cricklewood driver added, “We need more rank and file involvement in the union if we are going to win our campaigns over the next year.

“Many drivers are asking why union funds are spent on such big salaries for those at the top. They are saying that more should be spent on keeping members informed about what is going on and letting people know how to get involved.”


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News
Tue 17 Mar 2009, 18:45 GMT
Issue No. 2143
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