Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 July 2012

London bus workers discuss new offer: "militant strike action pays"

A London bus worker

London bus workers have been fighting for payment for extra work during the Olympics with joint strike action, the first for many decades.

For too long London bus workers have been seen as a soft touch by the bosses. Our militant traditions became ancient history.

In 1994 privatisation meant the then Tory government let firms buy up a public service cheaply. Since then 100 millions have gone to these profiteers in public subsidy annually. They thought effective trade unionism was dead. In fact it's just reawakening.

In some ways the mood of bus workers never changed. We've always thought public services shouldn't be run for private profit. The supervisors and even most garage managers saw privatisation as a bad move.

Yet the sell-off happened - with no opposition from many garage union reps and company convenors. And a full time T&G (the union before merger in Unite) bus official was rewarded with a senior managerial position in one of these companies.

Despite the remaining high level of unionisation, reps were elected who failed to pursue the best interests of members. Many new reps became isolated and frustrated.

Members work long hours in unsocial shifts so they find it extremely difficult to get active. For years there has been seething anger in the garages both with bullying management and the apparent impotence of the union leaders. A minority left the union in frustration.

There are particular difficulties in organising across 20 separate bus firms in London. But the recent tremendous 94% vote for strike action over pay during the Olympics gave a big impetus. Unite's organising department have helped build confidence on the picket lines.

These developments have quickly unleashed the fighting spirit of bus workers. This mood will influence other sectors of Unite and other workers in the capital and beyond.

The important thing now is to build strong active union branches in all the garages. We need branches that meet regularly and keep members informed.

As we go to press, Unite has had a firm offer from the bus companies. Garage meetings are being held, followed by a consultative ballot in all the workplaces on 17 July.

The detailed implications of the offer are still being discussed by the workers. But a short time ago the employers were refusing even to speak to our union.

Clearly militant strike action does have an important impact because the bosses have been forced to blink first and make some concessions.

However bus workers will have to be vigilant against the dangers of any strings being attached.

Mass meetings should be organised to test whether the mood is there to fight for further concessions.

Whatever the outcome, this dispute has opened a new chapter in the history of bus workers' trade unionism and paved the way for rebuilding our industrial strength.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 11 July 2012:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

LOOTED! PFI empties NHS coffers

Fight Profit From Illness

Save Worcestershire A&E services

Socialist Party editorial

Libor scandal exposes rotten racketeering system

Lords reform - Abolish the House of privilege!

Save our server!

Youth Fight for Jobs and Education feature

Fight for a future for the 99%

The politics of fighting the racist EDL

Pride should be about protest, not profits!


Workplace news and analysis

London bus workers discuss new offer: "militant strike action pays"

Build the fightback against the Con-Dems: Join the lobby of the TUC on 9 September

Single status appeal: Victory for Vine workers

Sheffield recycling workers win victory against sackings

Vote no to the local government pension offer

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Egypt: Will Mursi's presidential election victory bring real change?

Socialist Party reviews and comments

TV Review: Britain on the brink - back to the '70s

The Shard: As useless as a hole in the ground

Ringing bells in the GMB

Minimum wage, minimum security

Socialist Party news and campaigns

TUSC continues to build support in Liverpool

Leeds protest at prison privatisation rally

Help boost sales of the Socialist

Socialist Party Summer Camp


Home   |   The Socialist 11 July 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  

Related links:

Bus workers:

triangleLondon Buses safety campaign

triangleBus safety: we won't be distracted from public ownership

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleSolid bus strike for better terms and pay

triangleAthens bus workers clean up


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleReadmit the socialists - for a federal Labour Party

triangleLewisham 1977: When socialists and workers defeated the far-right National Front


triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!


triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice