Socialist Worker

Sheffield fight gets gains

by Ben Morris
Issue No. 2178

Bus workers at First’s giant Olive Grove depot in Sheffield have suspended their strike action after winning significant gains over agreement procedures and disciplinaries.

Their courageous stand should be held up as an example to workers elsewhere on how to resist.

First Bus bosses had been attempting to impose unagreed changes at the same time as enforcing a punitive absence and disciplinary code. This meant workers were frequently losing pay for time off and facing serious disciplinaries for minor offences.

After four days of solid action, most issues have been resolved favourably. Several disciplinaries have been revoked.

Unite union branch secretary Martin Mayer said, “The members were fantastic. Some 98 percent of drivers are in the union and not one crossed the picket line.”

Strikes are suspended while talks take place over a fundamental change to disciplinary culture and an end to sickness bullying.

Talks begin next week and the union says that if sufficient progress is not made by the end of the month, drivers will strike again.

The drivers will be in no mood for a shoddy compromise. Many are still angry that management were able to get away with a pay freeze this year.

Any new disciplinary framework will be put to a workplace ballot before the dispute is settled.

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