Socialist Worker

Preparing for battle as East London bus group goes up for sale

by Mark L Thomas
Issue No. 2206

One of London’s biggest bus companies is up for sale, raising fears for thousands of bus workers’ jobs, pay and working conditions.

The East London Bus Group (ELBG) runs bus services in east, south east and central London and employs around 4,500 drivers.

ELBG, which is owned by a consortium headed by Australian investment bank Macquarie, claims to be making losses.

Yet in April, Macquarie’s profits were up 21 percent to £660 million.

Drivers in the Unite union sent a clear message at a packed mass meeting last month: they will not agree to pay cuts and attacks on conditions to bail out the company.

This clearly had an impact, making the company shy away from imposing cuts.

Drivers were angry at claims in The Sun that they earn £34,000 and that this is the reason for ELBG’s problems.

One driver told Socialist Worker, “No one I know earns anything like that sum. We’ve also had a no pay rise since April 2008. With inflation that means we’ve had a pay cut.”

He added, “We don’t want vultures picking up parts of the company they think are profitable. Transport for London should step in to guarantee jobs and conditions.”

Unite should prepare to support and encourage bus drivers’ fightback against any attacks.

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Article information

Tue 15 Jun 2010, 18:43 BST
Issue No. 2206
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