Socialist Worker

Metroline bus drivers in revolt at new sign-on system  

Issue No. 2720

At a previous Metroline strike

At a previous Metroline strike (Pic: Sarah Cox)

Bus drivers working for Metroline in London are poised for a strike ballot over “remote signing on”.

The Unite union describes the proposed system as a huge “experiment with the capital’s vital transport system” and designed for profits not passengers.

Under remote signing on, drivers would not report to a depot but would meet their bus and begin work at a location such as a bus stop.

This would mean there will be no checks to ensure the driver is fit and well to drive a bus

There will be no toilet facilities, rest and canteen provision. And drivers will be forced to wait for their bus to arrive in all weathers, potentially harming their health and ability to drive a bus over a long shift

Affected workers have described the proposals as a massive insult to a group of workers working during the pandemic, in which 29 drivers have died.

Metroline dominates routes in the north and the west of the capital and accounts for a sixth of London bus drivers.

Unite represents over 4,000 drivers at the company.

In an earlier consultative ballot Unite members voted 99 percent vote in favour of industrial action at Metroline West and 98 percent in favour at Metroline Travel.

Strikes could start in the autumn.

Sacked for speaking out

British Cables Company has sacked two workers for raising Covid-19 safety issues.

After a co-worker tested positive in April, Steve Saxon and Mark Vernon expressed concerns about management’s careless attitude towards wellbeing.

They also contacted their GMB union about several alleged breaches of government rules by the company.

Shaun Buckley, GMB organiser, said, “Steve and Mark have been sacked for daring to speak out—for daring to try and keep them, their colleagues and the public at large safe.

“GMB vows to fight this injustice and will continue to highlight the need for companies to adhere to Covid-19 guidance to keep its workers safe.”

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