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South Yorkshire Stagecoach bus drivers take eighth day of strike action
Stagecoach bus drivers in Barnsley and Rotherham, members of the Unite trade union, took their eight day of strike action on Monday 16th January in pursuit of their pay claim for £9.50 an hour.
Boosted by a branch members ballot which had overwhelming rejected the company offer by 206 votes to 89, pickets at the Rawmarsh depot were in determined mood. One steward said that he had spent 16 hours on the picket line last time, put newspapers down his trousers and mustard powder around his toes to keep warm in the freezing temperatures!
Drivers were on £8.57 an hour and had a 2% rise imposed, taking them to £8.74.
The 'offer' was £9.05 an hour but with no back-pay (due from April 2011) and no further rise until 2013, in other words a two year pay deal, with many strings attached.
How far Stagecoach South Yorkshire pay has fallen behind other bus drivers was illustrated by three Arriva bus union reps on the picket line in solidarity - they are on £11.43 an hour.
The Barnsley and Rotherham drivers have been taking strike action since November but Stagecoach is bussing in supervisors and managers from all around the country who are prepared to take the "boss's shilling". The result is that the depot is able to get out about 60% of the services.
But at what cost? The pickets have seen a pay slip showing up to £155 bonuses per day for strike breakers on top of their wage.
Hotel and travel is also paid. So the strikers are not disheartened because Stagecoach can't keep this up as its more expensive than paying the drivers and they clearly can afford to pay the increase they are seeking!
- Messages of support should be emailed to Barnsley Unite branch secretary Tony Rushforth at firstname.lastname@example.org Cheques should be made payable to Unite, 8-9/9 Barnsley and sent to A Rushforth, 45 Tune Street, Wombwell, Barnsley S73 8PX
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 16 January 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.