Socialist Worker

South Yorkshire bus workers to strike

Issue No. 2159

Bus workers at First South Yorkshire are set to strike on Friday of this week against a pay freeze. The action will hit services throughout Sheffield, and Rotherham.

The workers, members of the Unite union, voted by 605 to 178 to strike.

The union wants drivers’ wages brought in line with those at other First depots such as Leeds.

The standard rate for drivers in South Yorkshire is just £9.13 an hour, compared to £10 an hour in Leeds.

Bosses have responded aggressively to the strike plans, with deputy managing director Brandon Jones threatening that jobs may go.

But Steve Clark, branch secretary of Unite at First South Yorkshire, rightly points out that First can afford to pay its drivers better wages. The company made £122 million profits on its bus operations nationally in the last financial year.

He said that some drivers who have recently joined the company were “having to live on the breadline” with starter rates of between £6 and £7 per hour.

As well as the issue of pay, many workers are also angry at poor overtime payments and alleged bullying.

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Tue 7 Jul 2009, 18:50 BST
Issue No. 2159
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