Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/601/8345
London bus strike
East London Bus Group workers, organised by Unite, held a 24-hour strike on 9 November. East London Bus Group (ELBG) bosses are trying to implement a pay freeze and attack pensions and holiday entitlement.
Talks between the union and management have been going on since April, with the greedy company refusing to cough up a better deal for bus workers who work long hours on low pay. ELBG is owned by the Macquarie Group, an Australian investment bank worth £133 billion. This has forced workers to take their first industrial action in 18 years. The response to the union's call was enthusiastic.
At Leyton bus garage the picket swelled to up to 100 strikers as the morning went on. Pickets held placards with the slogans "we want respect" and "don't throw us on the scrapheap". The mood was militant with younger workers on their first picket line and older workers pleased to be finally taking action against bullying management. Pickets drove around the neighbouring streets flying Unite flags out of car windows making the strike visible to all on their way to work.
Management were only able to run one bus, out of 58 routes, out of another garage. Every time a bus driven by a scab came past the garage it was met with the loud anger of the pickets. Eventually the bus route was diverted by watching managers.
Passing support came from cab drivers, council workers, postal workers and even passengers who walked over from nearby bus stops after realising there was a strike. Passing bus drivers from other companies also discussed with the pickets. Many workers agreed that an all-London bus workers' strike would be effective in forcing all the companies to pay attention.
Support from the Socialist Party was well received with two pickets buying The Socialist and many taking leaflets for the Youth Fight for Jobs demonstration on 28 November.
In The Socialist 11 November 2009:
War and occupation
Postal workers strike
Defend the four campaign
Campaign for a New Workers Party
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party review