Socialist Worker

A second South Yorkshire bus strike against First pay freeze

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2163

Bus drivers at First South Yorkshire are to strike on Saturday in their fight against a pay freeze.

This is the drivers’ second strike. A one-day strike last month shut down routes across Sheffield, Rotherham and the surrounding area.

First bosses rushed to the courts on the eve of the last strike in an unsuccessful attempt to use the anti-union laws to stop the strike.

Strikers in the Unite union want a rise in the hourly rate from £9.13 to £10 an hour in line with First workers in Leeds.

Although pay bargaining happens on a local basis within First, the company has used the recession as an excuse to institute a national pay freeze.

This effectively turns this into a national dispute for all First workers and should be met with a national response.

First says it cannot afford pay rises but it made a record £122 million profit on its bus operations last year and recently found the cash to bid to take over National Express.


Aberdeen action suspended

Unite members at First Aberdeen have suspended a programme of action pending the outcome of talks.

The workers held a successful one-day strike last month against a pay freeze.

They followed this with a work to rule and had planned to strike for two hours every Tuesday from this week for two months.

Pressure seems to have forced managers to at least discuss concessions.

Up until now First bosses have talked tough.

First Aberdeen managing director Bob Dorr even had the cheek to describe the pay freeze as a “reasonable offer” that the workers should be happy with.


Plymouth protest over sell-off plans

Bus drivers in the Unite union lobbied Plymouth council on Monday of this week in protest against the planned sell-off of City Bus.

Around 400 workers will be affected if the sell-off goes ahead.

More than 20,000 people have signed a petition to say they do not want the council to privatise their bus service.


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News
Tue 4 Aug 2009, 19:27 BST
Issue No. 2163
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