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Unite calls off London bus strike
The London bus workers' strike planned for 22 October was called off at the last minute by Unite, the union which organises most London bus workers. This was to be the latest in a series of strikes over pay.
This stoppage would have been the biggest so far, with up to 14,000 drivers out, bringing London to a halt. Once the legal hurdle of balloting each company in turn had been overcome, this would have been the first all-London bus strike since the 1950s.
But the employers, using a firm of union-busting lawyers, were able to get the boss-friendly courts to stop the strikes at some companies on the pretext that the bosses had not been informed about every person that the union was calling out on strike.
The court did not need to give an opinion on this, just that the judge "found it interesting" and therefore granted an injunction against the union until the courts could look at the legislation.
The union then called off all the strikes, even in those companies that had not sought an injunction.
In a leaflet that the Socialist Party produced, we called on the union to defy the law if used against them, saying: "The law is completely in favour of the boss class and it's time our unions defied them. If the bosses threaten to take the union back to court then the union should be prepared to call on all its members to defend the union.
"This action can lead to a victory but only if the full force of our industrial muscle is used.
"London can be brought to a stop if all bus workers withdraw their labour. The next all-London strike should be planned for now."
Unite say that once they have checked the legal status of the ruling they will continue the action.
We hope this is the case but the momentum that was building up amongst bus workers has been knocked.
Bus workers should call on their union not to bow down in the face of the pro-boss laws but instead rely on the strength of their members in their struggle for a decent pay award.
In The Socialist 29 October 2008:
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis