Socialist Worker

First bus drivers strike action

Issue No. 1968

Around 600 First Bus workers in the east of Scotland held their second one-day strike over pay on Tuesday of this week.

More than 300 bus services in Stirling, Falkirk, Edinburgh and the Lothians have been cancelled on each strike day.

The T&G members at First are pushing for a pay rise from the current rate of £7.40 an hour to £8.

Sandy Smart, regional industrial organiser for the T&G union in Central Scotland, said an earlier offer was “derisory” and would have led to drivers “selling everything they’ve got” in terms of working conditions in order to achieve £8 an hour.

“Our guys quite clearly said there’s no way that that’s acceptable. We’ve precious little terms and conditions left as it is,” he added. The strikes have gone very well and morale is high.

“We have had 100 percent support in every depot right across the strike area. There is nobody driving a bus. There is nobody turning up to work

One driver told Socialist Worker, “We are going for this. There is a shortage of bus drivers across Britain and yet we still suffer crap pay and conditions.

“It’s a stressful job where you have to be a combination of ace driver, public relations officer and, unfortunately, sometimes a security guard. That’s definitely worth £8 an hour and without having to sell all your conditions to get it.”

The strikes follow an overwhelming vote of 539 to 49 for action in a ballot.

Meanwhile workers at First Eastern in Norwich planned to start a seven-day strike on Thursday this week.

Drivers want a rise of 3 percent while managers have offered 2.25 percent.

About 650 First Bus staff voted to take the industrial action out of a total workforce of around 710.

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Sat 17 Sep 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1968
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