Socialist Worker

First Bus deal is a wasted opportunity

by Derek Coleman
Issue No. 2181

Drivers at First Bus in Bolton, Bury and Wigan voted last week to settle their dispute over pay. It was an unsatisfactory and unclear ending to the dispute.

The news that a package that in essence had been resoundingly rejected two weeks ago had been accepted stood in stark contrast to the spirit, flair and militancy that had characterised the action of 800 drivers over nine strike days.

None of the drivers I spoke to understood why Unite union officials recommended the deal when it clearly did not meet the aspirations of the strikers, both in terms of a pay increase for the current year, and equality on pay and conditions for all drivers.

This was a central theme on the picket line.

The modest improvement in “progression” has still left an array of divisive arrangements on pay and meal allowances.

It is regrettable that the momentum of the strike was halted.

The drivers were right to believe in the fairness of their claim, and their ability to win by extending their action.

Planned strike action by First drivers in Leeds was suspended this week so drivers could ballot on a revised pay offer

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