Socialist Worker

Victory as Edinburgh bus strikes win a better offer

by Joe Hartney
Issue No. 1973

First Bus drivers in Scotland have won their strike over pay, with drivers in the east of Scotland accepting an improved offer on Thursday of last week.

The dispute began following the success of a strike by drivers in Edinburgh’s Lothian Region Transport (LRT) this summer.

First Bus workers, who had been promised numerous “pay reviews” over the years, voted for an overtime ban and a series of one and two day strikes that were due to escalate this week, to a week-long action.

Their union, the T&G, had called for £8 an hour for the First Bus drivers who were being paid an hourly rate of £7.40.

The action was solid throughout affecting some 300 bus services. An initial offer, recommended by union officials, was accepted by the central region drivers, but rejected by those in the east, leading to last Thursday’s improved offer.

Workers have now gained a rise of £8 an hour (backdated to the beginning of October), then £8.25 in November.

The rejection of the first offer by the east of Scotland drivers, and a (slightly) improved deal being won, indicates the potential that existed to have struck for parity with the LRT drivers.

Nevertheless, this remains a significant gain for the First Bus drivers, and it is the second successful strike on the buses in Scotland in the last three months. With other bus drivers gearing up for their own pay campaigns, these strikes demonstrate that action gets results.

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Sat 22 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1973
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