Socialist Worker

Weymouth bus walkouts can drive pay message home

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2515

On strike last month

On strike last month


Bus drivers in Weymouth, Dorset, plan a week-long strike from next Monday.

Supporters, including the trades’ council and several local councillors, are set to join them on the picket line.

The Unite union members have been taking action for two months to demand pay parity with workers in nearby Yeovil.

The Weymouth workers are the lowest paid drivers in First Group.

The union called off strikes planned for this week after bosses threatened a legal challenge to its strike notice.

Since the dispute began bosses have stopped workers paying their union subs through a weekly “check off” from their wages.

The union is signing members up on direct debit, but bosses claim this invalidates a strike notice that still refers to check-off.

Tory trade union legislation gives bosses too much power to get strikes ruled out on technicalities, but they are rarely put to the test.

Their main purpose is to get unions to call strikes off in the face of legal threats. Defying them can beat them—and this week’s action should have gone ahead.

Reverse 

But workers aren’t letting this setback put them into reverse gear.

They’re pressing ahead against First Hampshire, Dorset and Berkshire managing director Marc Reddy and his wage clampdown.

They plan to keep fighting.

One driver told Socialist Worker, “Everything Marc Reddy has done is only making people more angry.”

This follows letters to workers on sick leave threatening them with loss of sick pay.

Bosses have also run a scabbing operation that costs more than meeting the workers’ demands.

Weymouth is a small depot, but First bosses fear that if the drivers win it could set a precedent for other pay fights around its network.

That’s why it’s vital to keep up the pressure.

Send messages of support through Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland Trades Union Council, to timtucouncil@talktalk.net.
Send cheques payable to Unite branch SW/8161 to Unite the union, Bournemouth, 238 Holdenhurst Road, Bournemouth BH8 8EG.
Join the picket line—Monday 8 August, 8.15am, Weymouth bus depot, King Street entrance, Weymouth DT4 7BH

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