YORK BUS drivers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. The TGWU transport workers' union balloted drivers when employer the First Group rejected a demand for £8 an hour pay. Support for the strike was solid, with 205 voting in favour and only ten against. The turnout was 82 percent.
Strike action in York follows action by drivers employed by the First Group in South Yorkshire and Portsmouth earlier this year. First Group drivers regularly work up to the legal safety limit of driving time and are not paid for compulsory rest breaks.
With ever increasing living costs in the city, First Group's offer of 2.5 percent was rejected by union negotiators. Seventeen strike dates have been set for August, September and October. A strike was planned for this week but it was called off after a new offer was tabled. It was under discussion as Socialist Worker went to press.
Spirits among workers remain strong. One union member said that the action was about 'teaching First Group a lesson' and that the company has 'had this coming for a while now'. Another driver was outraged by the approach of First Group management: 'The management have been arrogant and narrow-minded. They should try living in York on the wages we get. There are recruitment posters in our buses advertising that we are paid well. It's a complete joke.'