After a third solid one-day strike last Saturday bus drivers at Nottingham City Transport (NCT) have suspended their action so that management’s latest offer can be put to a ballot of all 830 drivers.
The action was in response to an initial 2.4 percent pay offer. For the drivers, who are on £7 or £8 an hour, this amounts to about 20p an hour. They were demanding double that.
On Wednesday of last week, in an effort to head off this latest strike, management came up with an improved offer, which was rejected by a mass meeting of drivers.
On Friday, just before the strike, management again improved the offer. This was put to a 300 strong mass meeting held during Saturday’s strike. The vote was close, but the decision was to put it to a ballot of all drivers.
Management have found another 15p per hour – making a total of 35p compared with the 40p claim. This was done by consolidating various extra payments, and nibbling away at terms and conditions.
For example, the drivers are to lose their safe driving bonus which was worth between £90 and £140 per year.
At present NCT is 82 percent owned by the city council, with the remaining 18 percent owned by French company Transdev which runs Nottingham’s trams.
Drivers, whose NCT contracts forbid them from talking to the press, are angry that vast sums of money are being spent on what look like preparations for complete privatisation.
Some £11,000 is being spent on each bus to get the logo “Go 2” put on the back of each seat and £3,000 a bus on repainting the front.
“It’s the same old story – the drivers come last,” the drivers said.
The strike has been absolutely solid and not a single bus has run for the last three Saturdays. The drivers are pleased with the support they are getting from their passengers.
Some drivers want to fight as tough as their bosses and strike during the week so that all of Nottingham’s businesses are affected, not just the shops.
But they are having trouble convincing others who think that they have little choice but to accept the latest offer.