Socialist Worker

Pay battles on the Manchester trams + transport round-up

by Sam Ord
Issue No. 2773

East Midlands strikers stand firm

East Midlands strikers stand firm (Pic: RMT)


Over 300 drivers and supervisors on the Greater Manchester Metrolink tram network were set to strike this weekend over pay.

Workers in the Unite union returned a 97 percent vote for strikes after bosses offered a rise of just 1 percent—a cut in real terms.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Unite will not allow members’ pay and living standards to be eroded.” Strikes this Saturday and Sunday would cause severe disruption, coinciding with the Great Manchester Run and a Manchester United home game.

Further strikes are also set for Sunday 10 October to clash with the Manchester marathon and on Sunday 24 October the day of the Manchester United and Liverpool football match.

Manchester trams are operated by Keolis and Amey. Amey’s profit more than doubled in the first half of 2021.

Messages of support to [email protected] Tweet support to @Unite_NorthWest

 

  • Hundreds of ticket examiners and train conductors employed by ScotRail continue their Sunday strikes after their six month re­ballot showed an overwhelming will to continue their strike.

The workers in the RMT union are fighting for ­overtime pay equal with train drivers.

ScotRail bosses continue to endanger public safety by employing under-trained strikebreakers, claims the RMT.

Team managers in the TSSA, rail workers’ union voted to strike against being drafted as strikebreakers.

Train cleaners have taken action short of a strike by refusing to work on their rest days. Gateline workers are refusing to work overtime. Further strikes could disrupt Cop26, despite pressure from the Scottish National Party to bow down to bosses.

Meanwhile 250 ScotRail engineers in Unite the union have voted 78 percent for strikes to win better pay and no compulsory redundancies.

Action short of a strike was set to begin on Friday of this week.

 

  • Senior conductors and train managers on East Midlands Railway ­continue their 24-hour weekly walkouts

They’re involved in ­separate disputes ­regarding the safety of operating 12-carriage trains that have no connecting walkway between some units.

Workers oppose bosses’ plans to position just one manager or senior conductor on board.

 

  • South Western Railway  (SWR) workers in the RMT union are protesting over cuts.

SWR bosses plan a 15 ­percent cut to all services as part of a wider attack on workers’ pay and jobs.

Sign the petition at  bit.ly/SWRcuts

 

  • Bus drivers for operating company Stagecoach in South Wales are balloting over pay.

The workers in the Unite union are fighting for at least £10.50 an hour to match drivers’ pay at other firms.

The dispute affects workers at the Cwmbran, Brynmawr and Blackwood depots.

 

  • Some 57 Unite union members on the Woolwich ferry in east London continue to strike three times a week throughout September having taken action since May.

Workers oppose the victimisation of two Unite union reps and the use of agency staff.


Not enough lorry drivers? Make them work for longer

The government has responded to the shortage of lorry drivers by further extending the maximum driving timing for drivers.

A “temporary extension” is already in place since 12 July. But now the government seems to be planning to push this until 23 January.

Under the government’s relaxation, drivers can drive for up to 11 hours a day and a total of 99 hours a fortnight. That compares to 10 hours a day and 90 hours a fortnight previously. Rest periods are also reduced.

The government has repeatedly relaxed the driving regulations since the beginning of the pandemic.

Since March 2020 the driving regulations have been relaxed for ten out of 18 months.

The Unite union says it is very concerned that extended driving hours is having a cumulative effect on driver fatigue.

With the increased hours now continuing throughout the autumn and winter months—with longer periods of darkness and poorer weather—Unite fears accidents will increase.

There are a number of lorry drivers’ disputes taking place. They include ones at Booker and Hanson.

The unions should be fighting for big pay rises and safe conditions for all lorry drivers. The shortage of workers should be a spur to struggle.


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