Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1915

Follow Sheffield’s route to victory

DRIVERS ON First Group buses in Bristol have narrowly voted to accept an improved pay deal.

We are all aware that it is the victorious indefinite strike by our colleagues at First Group in Sheffield and South Yorkshire that has forced the company to give us more.

There was strong support in Bristol for the Sheffield strike.

We organised collections in the depot and got the union branch to give a sizeable donation.

Our new deal gives us 7.2 percent over two years for many drivers and 8.4 percent for those with over six years experience.

But there is nothing more on the rates for overtime and other extras.

TGWU union members threw out the company’s initial offer, even though it was recommended by the shop stewards’ committee.

This time the recommendation secured acceptance by about 250 to 150 votes, with only half the 800 drivers voting.

One positive development is that many drivers now want to get active in the union.

We aim to build on the feeling shown in the Sheffield dispute to strengthen organisation here.

DRIVERS ON Trent buses at the Langley Mill Depot in Derbyshire struck on Saturday in a dispute over shift patterns. Further action is planned for the future.

Undertakings sought on pay

MEMBERS OF the GMB and TGWU unions at Co-Operative Funeralcare, Britain’s leading funeral company, are voting on industrial action following the rejection of a 3.5 percent pay offer.

The company saw its group profits last year increase to £327 million from £231 million in 2002.

GMB national secretary Phil Davies says, “We have no wish to cause distress to the many families who would be affected.”

The average basic pay of funeral workers is around £12,000 a year and after deductions take home pay can be as low as £230 per week.

The Co-Operative Group is Britain’s leading funeral company, arranging over 85,000 funerals in 2003.

It employs 2,600 staff in 500 branches, two coffin factories and a stonemason service.

The average cost of a funeral today is estimated at £2,000 for a simple cremation service to £2,500 for a basic burial.

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Article information

Sat 21 Aug 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1915
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