Socialist Worker

Support bus strikers in Manchester in London

by Sam Ord
Issue No. 2749

Part of a solidarity cavalcade in Manchester last Saturday

Part of a solidarity cavalcade in Manchester last Saturday (Pic: Unite North West)


Bus drivers in Manchester and the west and south of London have stepped up their fights after talks with bosses failed.

London United bosses are on the attack with plans to cut wages by up to £2,500 a year and also force some drivers to work longer hours.

The Unite union ­members work for a subsidiary of the RATP multinational. This operates in 13 countries across four continents.

Strikes were postponed last week to allow negotiations to take place. But the talks went nowhere.

Workers struck on Wednesday and Thursday last week and plan strikes on this Wednesday and next two Wednesdays after that.

In addition, drivers at both Stamford Brook and Hounslow Heath have voted to join the strikes.

Garages

It will mean that further strikes beginning on Thursday 15 April will involve London United drivers at all seven of its garages. The five depots already taking action are Fulwell, Hounslow, Park Royal, Shepherd’s Bush and Tolworth garages.

One driver based at Shepherd’s Bush garage told Socialist Worker, “We know they have the money. Most of us haven’t had a pay rise in the past three or four years.”

Three weeks ago RATP worldwide announced its 2020 results. Despite what management called a year of “successive crises (strikes, Covid-19)” the firm posted a turnover of £4,700 million.

Alongside London, 400 bus drivers in Greater Manchester are set to continue strikes after negotiations failed.

The Go North West ­workers have been on an all‑out strike against fire and rehire since 28 February

Bosses effectively expect drivers to work unpaid for 130 hours each year, leaving them £2,500 a year worse off. And despite the ­pandemic, bosses are pushing a 67 ­percent reduction in sick pay.

Workers were given just eight days to accept the new contracts or be sacked.

The workers and the wider trade union movement held a cavalcade and rally last Saturday.

It was organised by the trades council and the People’s Assembly.

Senior Unite rep Colin Hayden told the rally. “We are out and we are staying out. We will not return under these inferior conditions.

“We will fight this ­company with every element of our trade union.”

Send messages of support to [email protected] and [email protected] Cheques should be made payable to “Unite NW 4/5 branch” sent to Pat Gleave (branch secretary), c/o Unite branch: NW5/4, Quayside House, Salford Quays, M50 3SU. Donations via BACS transfer: Reference: STRIKE2021, TGWU Queen’s Road, 60-83-01 20256669

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