Devon Bus Workers Fight Low Pay

NEGOTIATIONS OVER the Devon Stagecoach Bus drivers’ modest demand of £6.50 an hour with no strings, have started and a strike scheduled for 23 July has been suspended.

Steve Bush, Devon

The mood of the workers was more determined after one picket got his ankle broken as a scab driver drove at the pickets in Torbay. A two hundred-strong crowd of strikers protested in Exeter on 15 July, gathered to hear RMT general secretary Bob Crow.

He referred to his nightmare six-hour train journey to Exeter in 32 degree heat with no air conditioning and no water or food – yet another example of the degeneration of public transport at the hands of private companies like Stagecoach.

He pointed out that secondary picketing was still illegal thanks to Blair’s failure to repeal Tory anti-trade union laws, yet it was legal for Stagecoach to bring in scabs from all over Britain to break the strike.

He pledged that there would be no sell-out by the union executive or the RMT leadership: “When they take on the RMT, they aren’t just taking on two branches in Devon but all 60,000 members of the RMT in Britain”

He promised that the RMT was committed not just to their current fight but to winning a 35-hour week for all bus drivers in Britain with no reduction in wages: “If it’s good enough for managing directors – it’s good enough for the workers,” he said.

Socialist Party members, along with other socialists and trade unionists in Devon have formed a Bus Drivers’ Strike Support Group.

We will work with the strikers in any way we can to ensure their victory, as a blow in the fight against low pay in the West country.

If no agreement is reached, four more days of strike action will begin on 25 July.