Socialist Worker

Passengers back Barnsley bus strike

by George Arthur
Issue No. 2282

Stagecoach bus drivers in Barnsley and Rawmarsh struck on Friday and Saturday of last week in protest at their low wages.

The drivers, members of the Unite union, are on £8.57 an hour for a 38-hour week.

Stagecoach is imposing a below-inflation 2 percent increase with no back pay, keeping them the lowest paid bus drivers in South Yorkshire.

Picket lines were large and lively. Scab drivers were barracked, while drivers at other bus companies were cheered when they stopped to show support.

A number of the scab drivers stuck two fingers up at the pickets. When some pickets swore back, the police imposed £80 spot fines on two of them.

Strikers were delighted when lorries refused to cross picket lines, particularly when a Michelin Tyres driver turned back. Barnsley College UCU union members took a £50 donation to the picket line on Friday.

Barnsley town centre was quiet on Saturday. Very few people travelled on the scab buses.

Many passengers had told the drivers on Thursday that they would respect the strike. A local cafe offered to supply cut price “striker specials” on the strike days.

Strikers held a mass meeting on Sunday and voted to strike for one day a week until Christmas.

This is a brave decision. The drivers need our support.

Email messages of support to Barnsley Unite branch secretary Tony Rushforth: [email protected]. Send cheques payable to Barnsley Unite to Tony at 45 Tune Street, Barnsley, S73 8PX

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Article information

Tue 6 Dec 2011, 17:55 GMT
Issue No. 2282
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