Socialist Worker

Unofficial action gets results on Edgware buses

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2168

Bus drivers in Edgware, north London, showed that militant action gets results when they won a stunning victory by walking out unofficially over rota changes.

Drivers on the 114 route, which is operated by Sovereign, refused to take their buses out last Saturday in protest at the imposition of new schedules.

Other workers refused to cross their 40-strong picket line and brought the garage to a standstill.

One driver explained, “We were told two weeks ago that we would have to drive these new schedules. That means we can’t take our meal breaks at the garage.

“Many of us bring in food we can warm up at the garage, and also get a rest before going back on the road. The changes would mean we would have to eat on the road or buy food in a café. We said that we weren’t going to do that.”

After discussions with pickets, a Sovereign manager agreed to all the drivers’ demands and gave them a written assurance that the old schedules would be reinstated immediately.

He agreed that no action would be taken against the strikers, and that they would all be paid in full.

One of the 114 route drivers told Socialist Worker, “Our action was a 100 percent success.

“Management had refused to consult on the new rotas, so we said that we are not doing it. And then in just four hours we had it sorted out. All the drivers feel really good.”

A Unite union member who was on the picket line added, “It was beautiful to see the power of the working class in action.”

New group joins the fight

Around 800 bus workers employed by First in Bolton, Bury and Wigan are the latest group to join action against employers who are attempting to impose a pay freeze.

Strikes are planned for Friday of this week, with further action set for the next three Mondays. The action involves drivers, engineers and cleaners in the Unite union.

Aberdeen ballot over offer

Hundreds of workers at First Aberdeen are balloting over an improved pay offer following a series of strikes.

First bosses wanted to fund pay rises by cutting conditions but members of the Unite union last week overwhelmingly rejected two new offers. Management have since returned with another offer that is being recommended by union reps.

Isle of Wight strike

Drivers at Southern Vectis on the Isle of Wight struck for 24 hours on Thursday of last week. The company, which is part of the Go Ahead group, has refused any pay rise. Drivers in the RMT union held lively pickets in Newport and Ryde. They are set to strike again this weekend.

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