YORKSHIRE Traction bus workers were boosted on Friday of last week as they staged their second one day strike for a decent pay rise. Their boss, Frank Carter, did not dare to run scab buses, driven by managers from outside the area, as he had done on the previous strike day on Saturday 27 November. The 35 pickets at the Barnsley depot talked about how the managers had received so much abuse from passengers they refused to work again.
Around 700 drivers, engineers and clerical workers at Yorkshire Traction have already rejected the 2.7 percent offer, which includes a savage attack on their conditions, by six to one. Their action has hit services across south and west Yorkshire. They were due to hold another strike on Friday.
READING: Around 230 bus drivers in Reading held a stoppage on Wednesday of last week in protest at assaults on them by passengers. Reading Buses is owned by Labour run Reading council. The management supported the action called by the TGWU union. Services after 7.30pm were halted until the first bus on Thursday morning. There have been 29 assaults on drivers this year. In the last incident a woman driver was stabbed with a syringe. The Reading drivers' action reflects the level of anger amongst workers across the country at the verbal and physical abuse. But the problem cannot be separated from the effects of bus privatisation. The bus firms' drive for profit led to the removal of conductors, leaving the drivers working alone. The cutbacks in services mean passengers can wait for long periods, often without shelter, and the driver wrongly becomes the target for their frustration. Linking the battles over pay with drivers' appalling conditions is the way to force bus bosses to spend some of their rising profits on improving working conditions.
ESSEX: Drivers at Essex firm Eastern National buses, owned by bus giant First Group, are to be balloted on a new pay offer. Two successful one day strikes in November by 700 workers forced the First Group management into talks with the drivers' TGWU union at the arbitration service ACAS last week. The new deal includes a rise of 4.2 percent on basic rates backdated to April this year and a rise of 4 percent on all rates from next April. The company's offer was due to be put to a workplace ballot on Thursday of this week.
WEST COUNTRY: After a solid one day strike drivers at First Badgerline, a First Group owned company, have voted to accept a new pay offer. The two year deal, recommended by the TGWU, was put to a mass meeting of 350 drivers on Thursday of last week. The deal came after the workers held a solid one day strike on Friday 26 November. It hit routes across Bristol, Bath, Keynsham, north Somerset and south Gloucestershire. Some 86 percent of the workers voted to accept the 5 percent rise backdated to March, with a further 3.5 percent next year.