Socialist Worker

Transport round up: Lancashire bus drivers gear up for more pay strikes

Issue No. 2657

A confident bus workers’ picket line in Lancashire

A confident bus workers’ picket line in Lancashire (Pic: Twitter/Gary Campion)


Around 300 bus drivers at Stagecoach depots in Chorley and Preston struck last Friday and Saturday as part of a long-running battle over pay.

Unite union members in Lancashire, who struck for four days last month, want a 50p an hour pay rise to £11.

Workers’ strength of ­feeling was shown in the strike ballot, which saw them vote by 98 percent for strikes on an 83 percent turnout.

John Boughton, Unite regional industrial ­organiser, said, “The workers are the poor relation within the group.

“Colleagues in Liverpool, Chester, and on the Wirral are on higher rates of pay.

“Even with this pay rise they would still be the lowest paid.”

In 2018 the Stagecoach Group’s pre-tax profit was £95 million—an increase of 432 percent on the previous year.

Drivers are set to walk out again next Tuesday and then 18 June, 29 June and 13 and 16 July.

Boughton said, “We met with the company on 20 May and there was no improved offer whatsoever so the action is carrying on. We thought they would put something to us and we were prepared to compromise and put an offer to them, which they rejected.”

Stagecoach has brought in extra drivers during strike days to try and keep its ­services running.

Meanwhile, the Unite union has said it won’t allow First Bus bosses to launch attacks on workers.

Its parent company, FirstGroup, announced last week that it intends to sell off its bus operations in Britain.

Bobby Morton is Unite’s national officer for passenger transport. He said, “Unite won’t tolerate one single job loss or attack on our members’ terms and conditions as a result of this sell-off process.”

And bus drivers, cleaners and ticket office staff on Bluestar Buses in Eastleigh, Totton and Poole are also set to strike on Tuesday 18 June over pay.

The RMT union members voted 87 percent in favour of strikes.


Air traffic controllers aim for higher pay in Scotland

Air traffic controllers at the Highland and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) are set to strike on Wednesday of next week in their fight for higher pay.

The decision follows HIAL bosses’ refusal to come back with a new pay offer after a strike last month.

The workers are currently paid around 10 percent less than air traffic controllers at similar-sized airports.

Prospect union negotiator David Avery said, “Since the initial strike we have received no new offer from the employer.

“Therefore our members have taken the decision to undertake a second day of strike.” HIAL is owned by the Scottish government and operates 11 airports in the Scottish Highlands, the Northern Isles and the Western Isles.

Meanwhile, strikers at Glasgow Airport have escalated their action after a breakdown in talks in a dispute over pensions.

The Unite union has announced a further

four-hour strike on Friday of next week.

It comes in addition to two 12-hour strikes, which were set to take place this Friday and on Monday of next week.

Workers voted by 95 percent for action in April to defend their final salary pension scheme.


Walkouts can sink bosses’ attacks on Woolwich ferry

Woolwich Ferry workers in south east London struck on Monday in the first of a series of strikes over pay and health and safety.

The 31 Unite union members struck for five days last month after a unanimous vote for action.

They are employed by contractor Briggs Marine.

Further strikes were set for Friday this week, Monday next week and then 14 and 17 June.

Workers are angry about bosses’ refusal to grant a

6 percent pay increase for the year starting January 2019 and the imposition of new duties.

Other issues include a failure to deal with safety concerns and staffing.


Rail bosses backtrack

RMT union members on South Western Railway plan a five-day strike from Tuesday 18 June.

The union suspended action in February after it believed the company had given assurances about guards’ role in the future.

It pledged that “each passenger train shall operate with a guard with safety-critical competencies”.

But the company has since rowed back on its public guarantees.


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